Suspension and Expulsion Policies
We secured passage of a state law that put an end to the “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies that robbed many minority students of the opportunity to get an education. We continue to work with policymakers, school leaders and parents to make sure suspension and expulsion policies do not discriminate against minority students.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a system of laws, policies, and practices that pushes students – particularly economically disadvantaged students, students of color, and students with disabilities – out of schools and into the juvenile and criminal systems. It is caused by systemic factors, such as racism, classism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and xenophobia. Additionally, it is the result of social and economic factors, such as poverty, a lack of parental involvement, and violence.
The pipeline is also caused by misguided education laws, policies, and practices, such as budget cuts and resource starvation, overcrowding, unmet academic and special education needs, a lack of support staff (e.g., counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and mentors) and positive alternatives to suspension, zero tolerance policies and excessive use of suspension, school policing, and high-stakes, standardized testing. The pipeline is also situated in the context of mass incarceration, a culture of fear and control, privatization, and pervasive racial and socio-economic segregation.
Criminalization of Students
To fight the criminalization of students in Wake County schools, advocacy groups filed one of the most comprehensive legal complaints ever about school policing in 2014.
A complaint filed by the North Carolina Justice Center, Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services, and a coalition of local, state, and national advocacy organizations alleged a pattern of discrimination and unlawful criminalization caused by school policing policies and practices in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS).