Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

Courtesy of City Theatre

 

The school-to-prison pipeline is the inspiration for a new show at Pittsburgh's City Theatre. Obie award-winning playwright Dominque Morisseau wrote PIPELINE to explore the disproportionate disciplining of minority students, which can put them on the pathway to eventual incarceration.

Courtesy American Friends Service Committee

Wesley Peters is a 17-year-old student at Pittsburgh Creative and Performance Arts School, and said he encounters racism on a regular basis.

“As a young, African-American male, I’ve experienced racism and other microaggressions throughout my daily life,” Peters said.

Peters will be one of around 100 youths to attend the Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) Weekend this Friday through Sunday at Bethel AME Church in the Hill District. Sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, the event will target issues such as the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” and the history of racial inequalities in the United States.

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) are making progress in the graduation rate, and the number of students enrolled in AP classes, but that progress is not seen equally throughout the district according to A+ Schools 10th anniversary report on the 2013-14 school year.

The report examines all schools in several categories including: proficiency of teachers, per pupil spending (excluding transportation, principal salary and building costs), if students feel challenged and cared for, suspension rates, PSSA scores, and a breakdown of most scores based on race and income.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The adoption of zero tolerance policies in schools has risen sharply since the 1999 Columbine shootings.  But are those policies making schools safer? Many education stakeholders in Pittsburgh say the widespread use of zero tolerance policies has increased the likelihood of students entering the criminal justice system based on school incidents. 

“If we can move from a zero tolerance policy, which excludes children who are having trouble, to progressive discipline, which includes those with a rehabilitative effort to get them back on their feet and back into school, we can do a better job with community safety,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, David Hickton, said at WESA’s community forum entitled "Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline" on Monday.  

Ending The School-To-Prison Pipeline - A Community Forum

Oct 28, 2014

What: 90.5 WESA’s Life of Learning Forum: Ending the School to Prison Pipeline

When: Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, 7 p.m. (Doors open 6:30 p.m.)

Where: 90.5 WESA, Community Broadcast Center, 67 Bedford Square, Pittsburgh PA 15203

Registration for this event has closed. The forum will be recorded for future broadcast.