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Our Work

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Resources for Pennsylvania Education Leaders

Supporting Pennsylvania Students: The Choice

Race, Discipline, and Safety at U.S. Public Schools

Research on the Impact of School Policing

Police and Pennsylvania's Schools: What Education Leaders Need to Know

Factsheet - Supporting Pennsylvania Students: The Choice

Q&A on School Discipline for Pennsylvania School Leaders

Q&A on School Policing for Pennsylvania School Leaders

Model Memorandum of Understanding

Students and the Justice System: Collateral Consequences

Our Partners

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.

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