The Massachusetts State Democratic Party passed a resolution at its July 13 convention stating its support for “policies and practices to dismantle the ‘School to Prison Pipeline’ and to minimize the use of restraints and seclusion.” The resolution was offered by more than eighty convention delegates from across the state. Data on school suspensions and expulsions, JRC testimony by Dina Traniello, TASH New England Co-Chair, regarding alternative interventions such as Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), and ACLU studies in Boston, Worcester and Springfield provided the background for the resolution.
Students with disabilities and students of color experience higher rates of restraint, seclusion, suspension and expulsion. They are also disproportionately subjected to arrest for behaviors that previously would be part of the school disciplinary practices such as sent to the principal, detention, etc. An ACLU report documents this latter phenomenon in Boston, Worcester, and Springfield referred to as the “School to Prison Pipeline.”
The Resolution reads:
Whereas students with disabilities and students of color are disproportionately subjected to arrest at school (called the “School to Prison Pipeline”) for behaviors that previously would be part of the school disciplinary practices such as being sent to the Principal, detention, etc. Seventy percent of students with “in school” arrest or referral to law enforcement are Black or Latino; and
Whereas students with disabilities and students of color experience higher rates of restraint and seclusion in public schools and Congress is considering legislation to reduce the use of restraints and seclusion through the “Keep All Students Safe” legislation (Congressman George Miller (D, CA);
Be it resolved that Mass Democrats Support policies and practices to dismantle the “School to Prison Pipeline” and to minimize the use of restraints and seclusion in schools.
“This is a significant step for the Democratic Party.” says TASH member and convention delegate Ralph Edwards. “It documents the Party’s awareness of these phenomena and commitment to address them. And it’s a tool that empowers advocates as they speak with legislators and policy-makers.”