Last week, the High School Matters blog published comments by Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deb Delisle on the impact of “zero tolerance” school discipline on the school to prison pipeline.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a national trend in which students are pushed out of school and into the juvenile justice system. Research indicates that the pipeline is an unintended consequence of increasingly harsh school discipline policies such as “zero tolerance.” Additionally, schools increasingly rely on law enforcement to handle minor disciplinary issues previously administered internally. This creates the initial link between the classroom and the criminal justice system. Harsh discipline policies often disproportionally affect minority students and students with disabilities.