Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Tools for Change

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Jason P. Nance

The school-to-prison pipeline is one of our nation’s most formidable challenges. It refers to the trend of directly referring students to law enforcement for committing certain offenses at school or creating conditions under which students are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, such as excluding them from school. This article analyzes the school-to-prison pipeline’s devastating consequences on students, its causes, and its disproportionate impact on students of color. But most importantly, this article comprehensively identifies and describes specific, evidence-based tools to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that lawmakers, school administrators, and teachers in all areas can immediately support and implement. Further, it suggests initial strategies aimed at addressing implicit racial bias, which appears to be one of the primary causes of the racial disparities relating to the school-to-prison pipeline. The implementation of these tools will create more equitable and safe learning environments that will help more students become productive citizens and avoid becoming involved in the justice system.

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