Mass Incarceration

Panelists discuss dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline

In 2010, greater than 3 million college students had been suspended from faculty. Native leaders who spoke at Notre Dame on Tuesday night mentioned such disciplinary measures usually additional entrench the school-to-prison pipeline.

“You may’t perceive the American system of mass incarceration with out understanding the American training system,” Justin McDevitt, the assistant regional director for alumni and reentry companies with Notre Dame Packages for Training in Jail (NDPEP), mentioned.

The Tuesday night panel dialogue targeted on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and was moderated by McDevitt. The occasion was hosted by Pupil Authorities and co-sponsored by the Alliance for Catholic Training, the Middle for Social Issues and the Training, Education & Society Program.

Becoming throughout the bigger context of Walk the Walk Week, programming that focuses on problems with justice and fairness throughout campus and the nation, the dialogue centered round actions at present being taken to dismantle the pipeline and the way the Notre Dame group can promote lively change.

Canneth Lee, a South Bend councilman and pastor, mentioned that “the pipeline refers back to the insurance policies and practices that disproportionately have an effect on college students of coloration and that push college students of coloration from faculty to the felony justice system.” He additionally mentioned the pipeline disproportionately impacts college students with disabilities and college students from low-income households. 

Maria McKenna, a professor in each Africana Research and the Training, Education & Society Program, defined that training has been politicized for the reason that starting of public training within the mid-1800s. She pointed to literacy exams, faculty segregation and ballot taxes, citing them examples of how Black folks have been traditionally excluded from training.

McKenna mentioned that this marginalization continues at the moment.

“We now have continued to marginalize, to criminalize and to exclude folks of coloration from the American training system and that is how we ended up with a system of punishment and reward and absolute black-and-white concepts about what is appropriate conduct in colleges,” she mentioned.

Kareemah Fowler, the chief monetary officer for the South Bend Group College Company (SBCSC), mentioned many college students who act out at school are affected by unresolved trauma and an absence of optimistic reinforcement at dwelling. 

These college students come to highschool needing extra assist and help, however the faculty isn’t in a position to present it, she defined.

“We reply with self-discipline as a substitute of with help as a result of that’s usually cheaper and simpler in some methods,” McDevitt mentioned. 

On account of disciplinary insurance policies, McDevitt mentioned college students are suspended or despatched dwelling, reasonably than being at college the place they’ll be taught and be liked by significant mentors and function fashions.

“We should work to cut back punitive measures, similar to suspensions and expulsions, and as a substitute give attention to restorative justice practices that assist college students be taught from their errors and make amends,” Lee mentioned. 

Fowler mentioned the significance of aligning the South Bend faculty’s strategic plan with insurance policies to dismantle the pipeline. In her place as CFO, she labored to cross a tax referendum to supply college students who want further help and assets. She mentioned she additionally labored to provide lecturers and employees with assets to take care of these points and discover ways to implement restorative justice practices. 

Fowler mentioned colleges and households can’t face these points alone.

“One of many pillars of the strategic plan was group companions as a result of we all know that these are systemic points,” she mentioned. 

Help for communities occurs on the native degree, McKenna mentioned. That help may take the form of mentoring a toddler, volunteering on the polls for native elections or supporting a group racial or social justice group, she added.

“Everybody [has] a job to play in dismantling what we consider because the school-to-prison pipeline,” she mentioned.

Contact Caroline Collins at


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