What it is:
The School-to-Prison Pipeline is a system that was created as a result of changes to the educational system such as Zero Tolerance Policies. These and other changes (such as police presence in schools) lead to suspensions, expulsions, and arrests which then—directly or indirectly—cause students to go from the classroom to a jail cell.
Why it Matters:
It is yet another way that racism and classism are reinforced in American society due to the fact that it disproportionately affects students of color and/or low socioeconomic status, much like Jim Crow or the War on Drugs. It also contributes to the current system of Mass Incarceration which is oppressive and expensive.
What to do About it:
The first step is bringing an end to Zero Tolerance Policies. Much like Minimum Sentencing for drug offenses, these policies give no room for questioning the circumstances of the infraction. More often than not, this policy is also enforced for minor, non-violent offenses and the punishment is much too harsh for the crime.