stopschoolstojails Check out this report on racial disparities in school discipline from the ACLU of Michigan: - June 25, 2009 add/view comments (0)

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Harsh school policies and practices and an increased role of law enforcement in schools have combined to create a "schoolhouse-to-jailhouse track," in which out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests are increasingly used to deal with student misbehavior, especially for minor incidents, and huge numbers of children and youth are pushed out of school and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This is more than an education crisis; it is a racial justice crisis because the students pushed out through harsh discipline are disproportionately students of color. The schoolhouse to jailhouse track is an education problem as much as it is a criminal justice problem. When students are pushed out of school through harsh disciplinary policies, their education is interrupted. For many students, harsh discipline is part of a vicious cycle. Students who are already struggling are more prone to misbehavior out of frustration. When they do "act out," they are harshly punished, which in turn leads to further academic struggle and frustration. Stopping the schoolhouse to jailhouse track thus not only promises to treat our children humanely and keep them out of prison, it also promises to be a first step towards offering every child the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond. For the past ten years, Advancement Project has been working with grassroots community organizations across the country to stop this destructive criminalization of youth. Through our work on the ground with our partners, we have seen communities demand and achieve change from their school systems and law enforcement agencies. Those successes have both changed policies and also empowered students and parents to ensure that the change is a first step towards a quality education. Unfortunately, at the same time the problem has gotten worse in other cities and states across the country, so there is much more work to be done to ensure that all children and youth are given a full and equal opportunity to get a high-quality education.

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