This Community Conversation is part of NASW-NJ's Race, Responsibility, and Reconciliation Series.
Join us with special guests, Mary E. Coogan, Esq., Vice President at Advocates for Children NJ and Jasmine Harden, Program Coordinator at Youth Court for this important conversation around the school to prison pipeline.
Too often, schools refer typical student misbehavior to the police, rather than resolving the issue in school. A referral to law enforcement embroils the student in the juvenile or criminal justice system — he or she will be the subject of a police record; his or her family may be charged court fees and sometimes hefty fines; and the student may face incarceration.
At school, a police referral brands the student as a troublemaker, prompting heightened scrutiny of the student’s actions both in and out of school. That child then becomes less likely to graduate and more likely to end up involved in the criminal justice system as an adult—high school dropouts are three-and-a-half times more likely to become incarcerated than their graduating peers.
Significantly, this burden does not fall on all students equally—suspensions, expulsions and arrests disproportionately affect minority students.
Join the conversation to learn about programs in NJ that work to disrupt the school to prison pipeline.
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More information and resources on race and racism can be found here: https://naswnj.socialworkers.org/News/Race-and-Justice