End The School-To-Prison Pipeline

 Image: Handcuffed Hands Vector Illustration (Vectorportal/CC)

 Image: Handcuffed Hands Vector Illustration (Vectorportal/CC)

The practice of pushing kids out of school and toward the juvenile and criminal justice systems has become known as the school-to-prison pipeline. It is fueled by zero-tolerance policies and the presence of police officers in schools, and made worse by school funding cuts that overburden counselors and high-stakes tests that stress teachers and students alike. These practices have resulted in the suspensions, expulsions, and arrests of thousands of public school students across the state, disproportionately affecting students of color and those with disabilities.

For students who are suspended or expelled, it isn’t just an interruption in learning — it can be life altering. It is the number-one predictor — more than poverty — of whether children will drop out of school and walk down a road that includes greater likelihood of unemployment, reliance on social-welfare programs and imprisonment.

MEJA is committed to challenging the school-to-prison pipeline. That includes ending zero-tolerance policies, decreasing the presence of armed guards in schools and adopting new, more effective practices for dealing with student misconduct, such as restorative justice programs.