Tell Milwaukee: End the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Milwaukee must end the school-to-prison pipeline and embrace a youth-led platform for safe and supportive schools. Right now, young people suffer through a harsh school environment with metal detectors at the front door, police deployed to patrol their hallways and severe exclusionary school punishment such as suspensions and expulsions.
In just one year, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) suspended more than 10,000 students – 80 percent of whom were Black. Additionally, one in every three ninth graders is suspended, and police or school personnel restrained or secluded young people 1,139 times last year.
Milwaukee Public Schools and the Milwaukee Board of School Directors have a responsibility to end this harmful and discriminatory system. And it's up to us to add the pressure.
These policies that criminalize young people and exclude them from school are highly ineffective. Proponents of school policing and punitive disciplinary action cite student safety as their primary justification.
Yet there is no evidentiary support for the proposition that police presence in schools and suspensions create safer learning environments. In fact, studies have shown that schools are no safer, even after years of punitive policing and disciplinary measures than before such policies are implemented.
By contrast, approaches such as restorative practices, mental health care, and smaller class-sizes have all been shown to improve school quality and increase safety.
The time to act is now. Due to a federal civil rights agreement, the school discipline policies must be reformed by this June, with many decisions being made by the middle of April.
Young people around the city, with the help of Leaders Igniting Transformation, have a blueprint to encourage safe, and nurturing schools and transform MPS’s disciplinary policies. The young people who are most at risk of harm due to harsh policing and disciplinary policies are uniquely situated to lead the dialogue about developing truly safe and equitable learning environments.
Will you join Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) members as we continue to demand that MPS and the Board of School Directors end the school-to-prison pipeline by adopting the Youth Power Agenda?