Still Haven’t Shut Off the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Evaluating the Impact of Florida’s New Zero-Tolerance Law: This report, completed by the ACLU of Florida, Advancement Project, and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, documents their study of the ongoing harmful impacts of Florida schools’ “zero-tolerance” policies. The study shows that although the state took a significant step forward by amending its harsh zero-tolerance law in 2009, meaningful reform has still not reached most of the schools – and students – across the state. It provides a series of recommendations to ensure Florida remains on the right track towards dismantling the pipeline.

Zero Tolerance in Philadelphia: Denying Educational Opportunities and Creating a Pathway to Prison: This report by Youth United for Change and Advancement Project criticizes zero tolerance in Philadelphia schools as a failed policy that makes city schools less safe, criminalizes or pushes out of school tens of thousands of students every year, and creates a School-to-Prison Pipeline. It provides a series of recommendations that the district, state department of Education, and state legislators can take to dismantle the pipeline in Philadelphia.

Test, Punish, and Push Out: How Zero Tolerance and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth into the School-to-Prison Pipeline: This report provides an overview of zero-tolerance school discipline and high-stakes testing, how they relate to each other, how laws and policies such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have made school discipline even more punitive, and the risk faced if these devastating policies are not reformed. The report explores:

  • The common origins and ideological roots of zero tolerance and high-stakes testing;
  • The current state of zero-tolerance school discipline across the country, including local, state, and national data;
  • How high-stakes testing affects students, educators, and schools;
  • How zero tolerance and high-stakes testing have become mutually reinforcing, combining to push huge numbers of students out of school; and
  • Successful grassroots efforts to eliminate harmful discipline and testing practices.


Available for download only
Action Kit

This Action Kit is intended to help mobilized communities (parents, youth, advocates, and educators) understand and begin to address the schoolhouse to jailhouse track so that they may ultimately create caring learning environments that push students toward colleges and careers rather than prison. It includes information on:
  • Collecting information and data about school discipline policies and practices;
  • Analyzing and organizing the data; and
  • Developing messages that resonate with your audience.
Arresting Development
Available for download only
Arresting Development: Addressing the School Discipline Crisis in Florida

Arresting Development: Addressing the School Discipline Crisis in Florida reveals the findings of public hearings, which were held in five cities and covered six school districts: Pinellas/Hillsborough (St. Petersburg, FL), Duval (Jacksonville, FL), Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL), Broward (Fort Lauderdale, FL), and Miami-Dade (Miami, FL). This report is intended to document the compelling and informative discussions that occurred among the hundreds of hearing participants—parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and juvenile justice personnel—and to serve as a catalyst for both statewide and local reform of Florida’s school discipline crisis.

Use the following links to download the report in its entirety or in sections (*Note: If you are having difficulty downloading the report in entirety, please download it in sections.):

Education on Lockdown


Summary of the Education on Lockdown Report

Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track

On March 24, 2005, Advancement Project released Education on Lockdown: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, a follow-up report to Derailed: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track. The colloborative report further investigates the nationwide trend towards using zero tolerance polices in schools as a "take no prisoners" approach to dealing with the most trivial acts of student misconduct. The report also examines how students of color are disproportionately affected by these policies. Three school systems, Chicago Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, and Palm Beach County Public Schools, are profiled as an example of how the national trends are being enacted at local levels. The report dissects the schoolhouse to jailhouse track by examining:
  • How zero tolerance, a policy originally designed to address the most serious misconduct, morphed into a "take no prisoners" approach to school discipline issues and created a direct track into the juvenile and criminal justice systems;
  • The expanding role of law enforcement measures in schools; and
  • The disparate impact of these practices on students of color.

Use the following links to download the report in its entirety or in sections (*Note: If you are having difficulty downloading the report in entirety, please download it in sections.):

Derailed: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track

On May 14, 2003, Advancement Project released, Derailed: The Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, a first-of-its-kind report that looks at how zero-tolerance policies are derailing students from an academic track in schools to a future in the juvenile justice system.

According to the report, in the mid 1980s, a spike in juvenile crime rates gave birth to the "superpredator" theory which held that America was under assault by a generation of brutally amoral young people, and that only the abandonment of "soft" educational and rehabilitative approaches, in favor of strict and unrelenting discipline--a zero tolerance approach-- could end the plague.

"In school district after school district, an inflexible and unthinking zero tolerance approach to an exaggerated juvenile crime problem is derailing the educational process," said Judith Browne, Advancement Project senior attorney. "The educational system is starting to look more like the criminal justice system. Acts once handled by a principal or a parent are now being handled by prosecutors and the police.

Florida Schoolhouse to Jailhouse
Action Kit

Advancement Project and the Florida State Conference NAACP released an action kit and model school discipline policy that will help school districts across the state revise their discipline policies as required by Florida's new zero tolerance law. The action kit provides comprehensive recommendations, a model discipline policy, and other materials that can help schools and communities comply with the new law.


The Devastating Consequences of Zero-Tolerance and School Discipline

This Advancement Project report written in collaboration with the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, examines the devastating consequences of zero tolerance policies and school discipline. The report illustrates that zero tolerance is unfair, is contrary to the developmental needs of children, and denies children educational opportunities. The report was released in June 2000.


Check out these websites for additional helpful resources and research on the schoolhouse to jailhouse track!

Dignity in Schools
This website, which began as a project of the Education Subcommittee of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association, allows you to search extensive articles and research related to student pushout, school discipline, and positive alternatives to harsh disciplinary measures.

Schools to Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline
This website provides a password-protected forum for impact litigators, direct services attorneys, and other advocates across the nation to share ideas and strategies for tackling the schoolhouse to jailhouse track.

The W. Haywood Burns Institute
The Burns Institute is a national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that aims to protect and improve the lives of youth of color and poor children and the well-being of their communities by ensuring fairness and equity throughout all public and private youth serving systems. Its two main approaches are: to bring officials from law enforcement, the legal system, and child welfare together with community leaders, parents, and children, and lead them through a data-driven, consensus-based approach to change policies, procedures, and practices in the juvenile justice system that result in the disproportionate detention of youth of color and poor children; and via the Community Justice Network for Youth, to provide support to organizations that offer alternatives to detention and arm these local organizations with the tools and staff to strengthen their programs and engage in policy work.

The American Bar Association - Recommendations for a High-Quality Education
In August 2009, the ABA, the primary organization of American lawyers, with over 400,000 members adopted three recommendations that would help secure the right of every child to a high-quality education.  The recommendations were sponsored by the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk and authored primarily by Paul Weckstein of the Center for Law and Education. The recommendations involve the right to a high-quality educational program (focused on developing core elements of education and ensuring all students have access to those elements), right to remain in school (focused on changing policies that lead to drop out and that cause removal of students from school), and the right to resume education (focused on youth who have been left out, excluded, or incarcerated).
This website is a way to connect with news, organizations, resources, and projects around education advocacy in Pennsylvania.