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Our Work

Learn more about the ACLU of Pennsylvania's work to protect students from unfair school discipline. For a deeper dive into our Pennsylvania advocacy go to pages about our statewide and Allegheny County work. 

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Related Resources:

Projects and Campaigns

  • Ending the Police Ticketing of Students
    As part of the our work to reduce unnecessary student contact with police, we are challenging the practice of permitting police to issue non-traffic tickets (known in PA as “summary citations”) to students as a disciplinary measure for alleged minor infractions. Learn more about our work to end summary citations.


  • Pennsylvania Summits on School Policing
    We convene day-long gatherings of
    Pennsylvania school district senior staff, school board members, and youth justice experts to explore how to make informed decisions about school safety. Learn more about our policing summits project and our most recent summit.



  • Student Arrests in Allegheny County Schools: The Need for Transparency and Accountability
    This research report finds that student arrests and referrals to police occur more often than are documented by schools. Also, students in Allegheny County are more likely to be arrested at school than students elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Arrests and referrals fall disproportionately on Black students and students with disabilities


  • Police & Pennsylvania's Schools: What Education Leaders Need to Know
    This resource for district-level staff and school board members discusses how education leaders can make informed decisions about school climate and the role of police. Topics explored include: what the research shows about impact of police in schools; the consequences of student contact with police; how to develop programs that provide alternatives to arrests; best practices in law enforcement interactions with students with disabilities; and agreements between school districts and police departments.


  • Cops and No Counselors: How the Lack of Mental Health Staff is Harming Students
    This report sheds light on the reality that millions of students lack access to meaningful support in the forms of school social workers, psychologists, counselors, and nurses. Instead, schools across the country have invested in filling their hallways with police and security guards. The report then details the impact of this trend, causing schools to be under-resourced and students to be over-criminalized.


  • Beyond Zero Tolerance: Discipline & Policing in Pennsylvania Schools
    Our report, published in 2015, is the only statewide analysis of school discipline for Pennsylvania. It examines school-administered discipline and school policing in the state's 500 districts: who is impacted most by different forms of discipline and the policy issues pertaining to school policing. Learn more about the report.


  • Know Your Rights: Handbook for Public School Students in Pennsylvania
    Discusses student rights, when they can be exercised, and when school officials can limit them, and offers practical tips for students. It covers First Amendment rights, school security and privacy rights, student discipline, fair treatment, and more.


  • Disrupting Pathways to Juvenile Justice for Youth in Allegheny County
    The ACLU of Pennsylvania contributed to this 2021 report, produced by the Black Girls Equity Alliance, about the criminalization of Black youth in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.


Resources for Educators



Projects and Campaigns
Police and Pennsylvania Schools Report C
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Featured Resource:


Go to Dignity in Schools


  • Dignity in Schools Campaign
    The ACLU of Pennsylvania is an active member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition of parent, youth, educator and advocacy groups that addresses the problem of push-out in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Current campaigns include Community Not Cops and the Model School Code on Education and Dignity

  • Black Girls Equity Alliance
    The ACLU of Pennsylvania is an active member of the Pittsburgh-based Black Girls Equity Alliance (BGEA). BGEA is made up of practitioners, researchers, stakeholders, and concerned community members who were inspired to take actionable steps to begin to address the structural inequities and subsequent disparities experienced by Black girls in the Pittsburgh community. BGEA has four work groups which focus on improving the outcomes for Black girls: child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and health and wellness.

  • Federal School Discipline Coalition
    FedSDC is a diverse group of local community organizers, national organizations, and directly impacted students, youth, families, and community members committed to advocating for legislative and federal action to protect the interests and educational rights of Black and Brown students and youth through a racial and educational equity lens. Establishing police-free schools while implementing effective, non-punitive, and culturally-sustaining practices in schools and alternatives to school discipline, is a core value for our coalition.

Go to Black Girls Equity Alliance
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