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“Breaking the Chains: Unraveling the Disproportionate Impact of the School-to-Prison Pipeline on Latino Juveniles”

Author: Sheila Santos

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, IPCE

Abstract: The “School-To-Prison Pipeline” is the phenomenon the unfortunate historic policies and practices of the k-12 education system interfering with law enforcement, disproportionately funneling students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, into the criminal justice system. This study looks at how the school-to-prison pipeline is affected by zero tolerance policies and excessive correctional enforcement, with a particular emphasis on Latino youth. This research poster looked at a literature review published between 2000 and 2023, this research study highlighted the negative consequences that punitive disciplinary actions have on young children's academic performance which significantly impact the learning outcomes for Black and brown students. Zero tolerance policies honor punishment over addressing the root causes of misbehavior, leading to disproportionately harsh disciplinary actions against Latino juveniles which impede their education. These educational gaps further perpetuate systemic inequalities within the education system. The over-policing of schools and poor fabrication of mass media perceptions contribute to the overcriminalization of Latino juvenile which obstructs their educational attainment. There is an urgent need for evidence-based alternatives that promote rehabilitation and support, as demonstrated by the disproportionate involvement of Latino juveniles at all levels of the pipeline. This study calls for extensive changes, including restorative justice practices, culturally responsive programming, and community-based support initiatives, to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and promote equitable educational opportunities for all students and to sustain a healthy development of Latino youth at all educational levels.

Keywords: School to prison pipeline, Latino Juveniles, zero tolerance, over-policing, student criminalization, public education, law enforcement, restorative justice.