Juvenile Justice and Education

Equity On Day One

Equity in policing begins early on. Schools should be safe havens for our children – a place for growth, development, and learning. Harsh discipline policies, however, drastically change this environment.

Many of today’s youth experience a “school-to-prison pipeline” where they are funneled out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system, typically for common adolescent behaviors. Non-White youth and those with special needs are even more likely to experience the pipeline as they are overrepresented in out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, school arrests, and referrals to the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

The Policing and Discipline Equity Project

To combat the school-to-prison pipeline, CPE’s Juvenile Justice and Education division created the Policing and Discipline Equity Project (PDEP). Started in 2016, PDEP’s purpose is to promote racial equity in school discipline. Florida’s Broward County School District is PDEP’s first site.

The project aims to reduce racial disparities in outcomes for students and identify contributing factors to persistent discipline disparities and school related arrests. This comprehensive study includes student, teacher, and principal surveys, parent focus groups, and the analysis of secondary data.

CPE will use the findings of the study to: 1) inform the development of an implicit bias training for educators and school resource officers; 2) support the restructuring of hiring and training practices; 3) adjust the servicing of student and employee needs in schools; and 4) provide recommendations to improve school discipline and school policing practices.

Using data as levers for social change, the PDEP has the potential to transform America’s school discipline policies and improve school culture and quality of life for every child.