The School to Prison Pipeline is a nationwide system of local, state and federal education and public safety policies that pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. This system disproportionately targets youth of color and youth with disabilities. Inequities in areas such as school discipline, policing practices, high-stakes testing and the prison industry contribute to the pipeline.So you may be scratching your head trying to figure out how this relates to the work of Planned Parenthood. The work of the NYCLU addresses many civil liberties issues, including access to reproductive health care, comprehensive sex education, and privacy rights. It's easy to connect those issues with the advocacy work of Planned Parenthood. However, the NYCLU also addresses advocacy issues like immigrants' rights, LGBT rights, police accountability and criminal justice reform, protecting protest, and national security. From a reproductive justice framework, all civil liberties issues intersect in some way with sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In the example of the School to Prison Pipeline, Planned Parenthood does have a vested interest in helping youth succeed in school and become empowered citizens. The solutions that the School to Prison Pipeline suggests to decrease drop-out rates and address violence in schools are similar to the initiatives that help teens prevent unintended pregnancy and transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STI's).
Some things that the School to Prison Pipeline suggests as possible solutions are peer mediation, conflict resolution, after school programs, truancy intervention, guidance counseling, mentoring, character education, teacher training on classroom management, and parental and community involvement initiatives. These programs would not only keep teens off the street, but would help them succeed in school and, if combined with comprehensive sexuality education, will also help teens prevent unintended pregnancy and STI's.
In fact, Planned Parenthood's teen programs in Syracuse and Rochester focus on engaging teens in peer education, community outreach, leadership development, and operating after school programs that provide a safe and supportive environment for teens. The School to Prison Pipeline also disproportionately affects teens of color and urban populations, demographic groups that we also know are disproportionately affected by unintended teen pregnancy and lack of access to reproductive health care. By working together with organizations like the NYCLU, we can achieve the PPRSR mission of helping people "lead a healthy and fulfilling life."