The “School-to-Prison Pipeline” refers to a phenomenon that has been seen around the nation.  As the NAACP Legal Defense Fund describes it:

In recent years, a disturbing shift has occurred in our education system. Rather than employ traditional disciplinary measures, such as counseling or detention, when students misbehave, schools are becoming increasingly dependent on suspensions, expulsions, and law enforcement to punish students. Children are being arrested or removed from schools, even for minor discretions, at alarming rates around the country….

This funneling of students out of school and into the streets and the juvenile correction system perpetuates a cycle known as the “School-to-Prison-Pipeline,” depriving children and youth of meaningful opportunities for education, future employment, and participation in our democracy.  [More]


Texas is no exception.  Illustratively, PBS News Hour published this story about a boy in Bryan:

Two years ago, Rollins got into a fight at his middle school in Bryan, Texas, with a classmate that he says had been bullying him for months. The incident left the teen with a hefty punishment: a three-day suspension, a criminal Class C misdemeanor citation for disruption of class and a $350 fine.“At the time I didn’t know what a citation was,” Rollins said…

[B]ecause Texas adjudicates less serious “classroom cases” in municipal and justice of the peace courts – rather than in juvenile courts that attach confidentiality protections to the proceedings – the punishment likely won’t stop there for Rollins.  He may have to list the conviction going forward on everything from college and job applications to the forms requesting a driver’s license with the state of Texas.[More]


In fact, Texas’ pipeline has been extensively documented in a series of in-depth studies:

Breaking School Rules (Justice Center, Council of State Governments. The Public Policy Research Institute)

Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline: School Expulsion (Texas Appleseed)

Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline: Ticketing, Arrest & Use of Force in Schools (Texas Appleseed)