Advocates, parents, and students have been working at several levels to transform discipline policy and practice in the New Orleans Recovery School District. Following an organizing effort by the Fyre Youth Squad and others to bring attention to the problems caused by overly harsh school discipline in the New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD), a coalition of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), Friends and Families of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), Pyramid Parenting, and other local advocacy groups, parents, RSD school personnel, juvenile court staff, and school district staff worked together to revise the RSD's Student Code of Conduct in January 2008. The new code, which is being implemented for the 2008-09 school year for all RSD schools:

  • Reduces the number of suspendable and expellable school offenses;
  • Increases the number of school-based interventions and alternatives to suspension and expulsion;
  • Mandates additional points of parental contact in disciplinary proceedings; and
  • Includes additional information about due process rights for children in disciplinary proceedings.

JJPL, FFLIC, FYRE Youth Squad, and other parents, students, and advocates have also been successful in realizing numerous other reforms, such as:

  • Obtaining a guarantee from the Superintendent of the RSD to establish a district-wide Discipline Oversight Committee comprised of parents, students, advocates, and school community members; that will continue to monitor and analyze school discipline data and make recommendations for reform.
  • Reducing the number of days children await expulsion hearings;
  • Achieving the reduction of the RSD security budget from $20 million to $14 million and decreasing security officers in high schools by one-third and in elementary schools by half;
  • Securing a promise from the RSD, New Orleans Public Schools, and the New Orleans Police Department to invest in a security assessment and supplemental training focused on improved interaction between youth and school security personnel;
  • Creating a comprehensive manual for parents, students, and advocates to use in fighting to keep children in school and learning; and
  • Conducting trainings for community organizations, parents, social service providers, and teachers on concrete strategies to dismantle the pipeline to prison.

FFLIC recently started using media as a tool for organizing on the school to prison pipeline. In 2007, FFLIC began interviewing community members, youth, judges, advocates, and others to learn about their experiences and thoughts on the school to prison pipeline. At the same time, they started broadcasting public service announcements on the radio, participating in local public television segments, hosting trainings, and organizing focus groups with youth about the pipeline and its detrimental effects. The results of these activities culminated in a film, “Stopping the School to Prison Documentary” in 2009. FFLIC has hosted screenings across the state and is now using the documentary to help provide support for their demands on reforming school security and school discipline on the state level.

New code of conduct

Order the FFLIC DVD:
Mail check or money order to:
1600 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70113
Make check out to FFLIC and put “STPP Documentary” in the memo line

For more information, contact:
Dana Kaplan
Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana
1600 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113
T: 504-522-5437
[email protected]

For more information on FFLIC, contact:
Damekia Morgan
Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children
1600 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
T: 504-522-5437 x 229
[email protected]