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Week of Action: Invest in Public Education Not Prison Cultivation

28 September 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

2015 WoA Poster2Join us in a week of action to challenge the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Utah. 

Did you know that:

  • Nearly one in five students drop out of Utah high schools?
  • One in three of Utah’s black and Hispanic students fail to finish high school?
  • Black and Hispanic students in Utah are three times more likely to be suspended than white students?
  • One out of three inmates at the Utah State Prison is a high school dropout?


The ACLU of Utah is committed to challenging the school-to-prison pipeline, a disturbing national and state trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. “Zero-tolerance” policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in schools lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially over represented in push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline. We believe that children should be educated, not incarcerated.

We are working with our allies, Salt Lake Peer Court, Racially Just Utah, Teen Council, Planned Parenthood of Utah and Spyhop, to challenge numerous policies and practices within Utah’s public school systems and the juvenile justice system. Together, we are participating in a national week of action against school pushout, October 3 -11.

The coordinated social media campaign will call on Utah’s school districts to:

  • Use positive interventions instead of suspensions, expulsions or arrests, and end racial disparities in discipline.
  • Fully implement positive alternatives such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Restorative Practices.
  • Engage students and parents in decision-making about discipline policies.


To learn more about the Week of Action and participate in the social media campaign, visit Dignity In School’s website. If you live in or near Salt Lake City, come to a community discussion about Utah’s school-to-prison pipeline on October 7, 5:30 - 8:00 pm, Law & Justice Center, 645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT

Find out more about the ACLU of Utah's work to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Find out how students are being criminalized and subjected to overly harsh punishment.  What is the School to Prison Pipeline?

Salt Lake Tribune OP-ED:  We should educate, not incarcerate, our young people (10/3/14)

 The Public Policy Clinic at S.J. Quinney College of Law report “From Fingerpaint to Fingerprints: Utah's School-to-Prison Pipeline” 

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