A Seamless Web of Support: Effective Strategies for Redirecting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Linda DeLauri

Decrying an escalation in harsh, exclusionary school discipline and its ensuing “school to prison pipeline,” educators, civil rights lawyers, civil libertarians, parents and students have successfully moved “zero-tolerance” to the center of educational policy discussions. It is obvious that suspension and expulsion rob students of instructional time, endangering their academic performance in the short term. But research also demonstrates a strong association between suspension/expulsion and dropping out of school. It is well established that dropping out is strongly associated with involvement in the criminal justice system and incarceration. This CHHIRJ brief, “A Seamless Web of Support,” explores promising alternatives to suspension and expulsion and offers concrete recommendations to educators, litigators, advocates and the professionals who work with youth and their families.