Senate Hearing on Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012 was a historic day for the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) and our allies in the fight to end school pushout and ensure the human right to education for all children and young people. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights held the first-ever Congressional hearing on "Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline."

Over 400 people packed the hearing and overflow rooms, including 130 DSC members, sending a clear message that Congress must take action to end harmful, zero-tolerance discipline practices, like suspensions, expulsions and school-based arrests, that push young people out of school. Those who spoke at the hearing described how low-income students of color and students with disabilities are targeted the most by these policies, and called for positive approaches to school discipline that create safe and supportive learning environments for students and teachers (view more photos from the hearing).

Senator Durbin (IL), who convened the hearing, said in a statement: “We need to change the culture of zero tolerance in schools and find better ways to discipline our students."

Read more about the hearing on our blog.

DSC Talking Points for Senate Hearing on School-to-Prison Pipeline (Document)

Here you will find our campaigns' policy recommendations for Congress, and the Departments of Education and Justice to address the school-to-prison pipeline.

Testimony of Edward Ward for the Senate Committee Hearing on “Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline” (Document)

"I think that schools need to throw out the assumption that young people are all dangerous or a threat. They must work to understand the issues that students face every day whether it’s problems at home, learning difficulties, language barriers, experiencing bullying and discrimination. To accomplish this shift, both my high school and Chicago Public Schools need to prioritize training for teachers, students, staff, administration and parents ahead of this overemphasis on “zero tolerance” and school policing. Suspension and expulsion for non-violent offenses really do dismantle a student’s future."

Written Testimonies from DSC Members and Allies (Document)

A collection of written testimonies submitted by DSC members and allies for the official record of the hearing.