Police and 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.
Reforming School Policing in Allegheny County Pennsylvania
In 2018, we began a two-year project working in select districts to reduce unnecessary student involvement with the justice system in Allegheny County public schools, with a focus on Black girls and students with disabilities. The project works to catalyze community awareness and action and to inspire district leaders to adopt best practices. The project has received generous support from the FISA Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Cops and No Counselors:
How the Lack of Mental Health Staff is Harming Students
We collaborated with other ACLU colleagues to produce an influential ACLU national report, “Cops and No Counselors: How the Lack of School Mental Health Staff is Harming Students.” The 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. This report then details the impact of this trend, causing schools to be under-resourced and students to be over-criminalized.
Beyond Zero Tolerance:
Discipline and Policing in Pennsylvania Public 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.
Know Your Rights:
A Handbook for Public School Students in Pennsylvania
This booklet 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.
School Policing Summits
In January 2018 and March 2019, we convened day-long gatherings of Pennsylvania school district senior staff, school board members, and juvenile justice experts to discuss the role of police in our public schools. To date, some 21 school districts have participated in these mini-conferences. The summits have provided school leaders with an opportunity to explore issues that are relevant to decisions they make about school policing and school climate.
Partnership: Dignity in Schools Campaign
We are 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 Counselors Not Cops and the Model School Code on Education and Dignity.
Partnership: Black Girls Equity Alliance
The Black Girls Equity Alliance (BGEA) is made 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 in child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and health and wellness.