The Problem



The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the trend where students are pushed out of the regular education system and towards the juvenile and criminal justice systems.Students face zero tolerance policies and increased police presence in schools. This can lead to prison-like school environments where students are also facing issues like poverty and underfunded schools. Incentives created by high stakes testing for schools to push out low performing students also contribute to the increased criminalization of students.1 While it is important that schools are safe, certain groups have been found to be affected disproportionately by these policies. The students most affected are students of color, students with disabilities, males,and low-income students.1 According to national studies and data from the Department of Education, the majority of student arrests are for discretionary offenses such as disruption, disorderly conduct, and minor school fights.2 The effects of contact with the juvenile system can be severe and long-lasting for young people, following them when applying for college or a job.2 The school-to-prison pipeline policies are unfair and their impact can be very damaging to students.