School to Prison Pipeline
The ACLU of Washington is working to dismantle the “school to prison pipeline,” a series of policies and practices that push youth (particularly youth of color and youth with disabilities) out of schools and into the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. Sending kids out of school and into courts and jails doesn’t help change adolescent behavior – in many instances, it harms children. Recent advances in neuroscience have confirmed that young people are still developing and benefit tremendously from treatment, positive reinforcement, and opportunities for rehabilitation. We push to end harsh discipline policies that suspend or expel students from school; eliminate the use of school police to address minor misbehavior; end incarceration for “status offenses” like truancy or running away from home; replace juvenile incarceration with effective community-based supports and opportunities for youth and families; and eliminate excessively punitive laws (like “auto-decline”) that treat youth as adults in the criminal justice system.
Students who have been suspended are twice as likely to repeat a grade, three times more likely to drop out of school, and three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system in the next year