FFLIC defines the School to Prison Pipeline as the systematic and institutional approach to depriving poor people of color a right to an equitable and quality education by pushing kids out of school through unjust suspension and expulsions, high-stakes testing, the lack of educational resources on a consistent basis, denial of special education services, lowered expectations, zero tolerance policies, and mentally preparing kids for prison by creating prison like environments in the schools with the overuse of police and security guards policing students.
The School to Prison Pipeline is the social phenomenon in which schools are funneling low-income youth of color into the criminal justice system. Schools are using expulsions, arrests, and alternative-school referrals as a way to rid their classrooms of “unwanted” children. The increase in out of school disciplinary tactics and the increase in children being incarcerated shows a correlation that proves the existence of the School to Prison Pipeline. Louisiana ranks near the bottom in high school graduation rates and has the highest incarceration rates in the United States. FFLIC is working to reform the Louisiana school system and the juvenile justice system by dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline.
FFLIC’s campaign to stop the School to Prison Pipeline involves:
- Reducing the number of youth who are “school referred” to the juvenile justice system from public schools by reducing unnecessary suspensions and expulsions through rewriting the Louisiana’s state statutes that relate to school discipline. The Goal is to eliminate misuse and overuse of zero tolerance policies in the state of Louisiana’s schools.
- Organizing a Parent in Leadership Project in New Orleans which coordinates parents and schools around the use of Positive Behavior Supports in the classroom and at home.