Book ‘Em: Under Educated, Over Incarcerated

This provocative documentary unpacks the “school-to-prison pipeline,” revealing startling and disturbing connections between the educational and juvenile justice systems. In addition to being broadcast nationally through Free Speech TV, this film won the Best Documentary Prize at the Westport Youth Film Festival and won the Criminal Justice Award at Media that Matters, the most prestigious social justice film festival in the country. Following the film’s release youth launched an action campaign with the goal of changing suspension policies in local schools, requiring that schools use more in-school alternatives to suspensions, and increasing resources for alternative schools. Youth screened the documentary for over 1500 youth and community audience members through local, discussion-based events, and within a year of the release of the film, suspensions at New Haven’s two largest high schools had decreased by 50%.



Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise

On May 17, 1954, in its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the doctrine of “separate but equal,” ending legal segregation in American education. Fifty years later, the full promise of Brown v. Board of Education has yet to be fulfilled. To mark the 50th Anniversary of Brown, Firelight Media produced Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise, as the centerpiece of PBS’s commemoration of this historic event.

Beyond Brown explores the challenges of “pursuing the promise” in several locations across the United States. In Boston, officials consider abandoning a voluntary busing program that shepherds inner-city African-American students to better schools. Inequitable funding of New York schools perpetuate racial and economic disadvantage. Los Angeles schools separate Latino and African-American students from their White and Asian counterparts with “ability tracking.” And thousands of minority third-graders in Florida risk being held back by high-stakes testing.

Click the image to watch the film.

Effects of the Unnecessary Pushout and Criminalization of Students

Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools

Education Under Arrest

Adventures in Zero-Tolerance Land

Students Taking a Stand Against the School to Prison Pipeline

New Twist on School-to-Prison Pipeline: CPS CEO calling in Marines to help in close schools

Chicago Teachers Union Blog

CPS School Suspensions and Expulsions (2010-2011)

Information from: Project NIA


It is important to look at the amount of suspensions and expulsions because this is how students get pushed out of schools.  We need to find different ways of addressing issues in schools in order to nurture and cater to the needs of our students and the root of the problems. Kicking them out of school is not the answer!

20/20 School-to-Prison Pipeline Report

Judith Browne Dianis on 20/20: Zero Tolerance Policies and Extreme Discipline

Suspension Stories

Suspension Stories is a youth-led participatory action research project to understand the school to prison pipeline. This initiative is the result of a collaboration between the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team ( and Project NIA (

Click the image to be directed to the site.