Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The School-to-Prison Pipeline is the direct and indirect push out of young people from the school system and into the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems. Across the country, and in New York City, we experience this through the over use of suspensions, zero tolerance policies that involve the police in minor incidents, school based arrests, referrals to juvenile detention, and incarceration.

Students know that punitive discipline practices do not reduce conflict or get at the root of behavior problems, disproportionately impacts students of color, students with special needs and LGBTQ students, and fails to make students safer. To begin to keep students in the classroom and out of the courts, we are calling for:

  1. The elimination of suspensions for Level 3 Infractions, specifically B21– ‘Defying Authority’
  2. The funding and implementation of district-wide restorative justice approaches to discipline, including guidance interventions, instead of suspensions
  3. A new MOU that returns school safety back to the hands of principals, limits the ability of school safety officers to intervene in minor disciplinary infractions and eliminates the ability of SSAs to handcuff students for minor behavior

“Are black students or students with special needs more disruptive, or more dangerous than their white peers? No, our response to these students is the danger!” – María C. Fernández, Senior Coordinator


  1. The passage of the Student Safety Act: first-of-its kind legislation that mandates the DOE and NYPD to publicly report the number of arrests and suspension in school. Amendments to strengthen reporting and transparency were passed in 2015.
  2. Secured $2.4 million from the New York City Council for investment in a citywide Restorative Justice Initiative.