Keep Kids in Schools, Not Prisons

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As of June 2017, more than 5,000 youth are incarcerated in adult prisons and jails, as a result of school-to-prison pipeline. As schools seek to outsource their disciplinary jurisdiction to juvenile courts and in-school officers, the nation as a whole has witnessed a rise in "zero tolerance" policies. This approach is proposed to make schools safer, but in reality, they are criminalizing youth and pushing them into the juvenile justice system, which is distorting the already large discipline gap between minorities and their peers. Zero tolerance policies gained footing in the 1990s as a way to squash fears of student violence by requiring schools to hand down harsh punishments--usually suspension or expulsion--regardless of the circumstances, the behavior, or the students history of discipline problems.

Yet, research has shown that suspending "problem" students, without trying any other intervention, are 68% more likely to drop out and have some type of encounter with the juvenile justice system.

Current research has found that youth of color, youth with varying disabilities, and LGBTQ youth are more likely to be punished more severely for the same offense than their fellow peers.  With African-American students being 4 times more, and Latinos are twice as likely than their white peers to be suspended. Furthermore, students with disabilities were suspended 2 times more than those without disabilities.

Students are still growing and learning everyday. What they need is support, not for the actions and behaviors they do as children to define who they are as adults. Policies that do not work should not be in place. Sign this petition, speak with your school board, and let your representatives know that you oppose zero tolerance policies in schools! #UnshackleTheChildren

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