Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The growing trend of harsh school discipline practices such as suspension, expulsions, and zero tolerance policies in public schools do more to increase student involvement in the criminal justice system than to correct or curb behavior. In many states, children are often arrested and criminalized for minor disciplinary offenses. African American males are the largest group of students disproportionately affected by such School-to-Prison Pipeline policies. In fact, a recent school discipline study in Texas by the Council of State Governments found that almost 60 percent of Texas public school students received punishments ranging from expulsion to in-school suspensions at least once between 7-12 grades. The study also found that African American males and students with educational disabilities were disproportionately disciplined for discretionary actions.

Harsh and discriminating school discipline policies led the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice to create the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, which encourages positive and effective disciplinary practices that create safer school environments conducive to learning and do not remove students from the educational setting.

Please join the Open Society Foundations for a panel discussion on the impact of school discipline policies and various initiatives underway to dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice will join experts to discuss the federal program and other initiatives.


  • Matt Cregor, Assistant Counsel of the Education Practice, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Robin Delany-Shabazz, Director for Concentration of Federal Efforts Program, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Kristen Harper, Policy Advisor for Safe and Drug Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education
  • Kavitha Mediratta, Program Executive for Children and Youth, Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Jane Sundius, Director of Education and Youth Development Programs, OSI-Baltimore, Open Society Foundations
  • Christopher Scott, Criminal Justice and Campaign for Black Male Achievement Policy Analyst, Open Society Foundations (moderator)

Lunch will be served.

Date: September 28, 2011
Time: 12:30 p.m.

OSI-Washington, D.C.

Matt Cregor, Robin Delany-Shabazz, Kristen Harper, Kavitha Mediratta, Christopher Scott, and Jane Sundius