Tag Archives: School-To-Prison Pipeline

Now Showing at Seattle Public Theater, ‘Pipeline’ Explores the School-to-Prison Pipeline

by Amanda Ong


On March 11, Pipeline, a play about the school-to-prison pipeline, premiered at the Seattle Public Theater. Through the lens of one African American family, Pipeline looks at the policies and practices that force students on a path from schools into systems of incarceration, which disproportionately affects marginalized students. 

Continue reading Now Showing at Seattle Public Theater, ‘Pipeline’ Explores the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Black Educators Closing Equity Gaps for African American Students and Teachers

by Kathya Alexander


The academic achievement gap between white and BIPOC students has been well documented. Black and Hispanic students trail their white peers by an average of more than 20 points in math and reading assessments, a difference of about two grade levels. Black males, in general, fare even worse, a situation that has not changed much for the past 40 years. 

Continue reading Black Educators Closing Equity Gaps for African American Students and Teachers

OPINION: The Silence Is Maddening

by Elaine Simons


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

—Elie Wiesel

My foster son, Jesse Sarey, was killed by Officer Jeff Nelson of the Auburn Police Department on May 31, 2019. Jesse was 26 years old. He was the 19th person in 2019 killed by police use of deadly force in the state of Washington since implementation of Initiative 940 (I-940), which requires de-escalation and mental health training for police and changed the law to remove a legal barrier that prevented prosecutors, as a practical matter, from charging officers who killed someone. Washington’s previous statute required prosecutors to prove “actual malice” — the most restrictive standard in the country. With Jesse’s biological family and supporters by our side, Officer Nelson was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in August 2020. Officer Nelson is only the third officer to be indicted for taking the life of a civilian in Washington State history and the first under I-940. Nelson is the first officer in the state of Washington to be prosecuted for taking the life of a civilian in 30 years. Less than 2% of police officers nationally are held criminally accountable when they kill someone. This is why State v. Nelson needs your attention, and the nation’s. Officer Nelson’s trial begins in June 2022.

Continue reading OPINION: The Silence Is Maddening

My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 2

by Jasmine M. Pulido

In this second of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores how Seattle Public School District’s Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) program works.


The HCC designation puts children on a track, or “HC pathway,” starting as early as kindergarten. In elementary school, HC-eligible children can either stay at their neighborhood school or move to an HC Pathway School. There are two types of HC Pathway Schools: self-contained schools, entirely dedicated to the HCC program, or self-contained classrooms offering advanced content within a general education program.

School-wide cohorts disappear, but self-contained classrooms with accelerated content are still available in HC Pathway middle schools. In high school, the term HCC no longer applies and advanced classes, like Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, become available to anyone interested in taking them. Azure Savage, however, explains HC students are more likely, more academically prepared, and more encouraged to take AP/IB classes. Reby Parsley, board director of the Washington Association for the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) and a gifted program specialist, also saw this in the research on gifted education. “What we’re finding is that when you provide students opportunity for access to those types of services at an early age, that’s when it has the most impact,” she said.

Continue reading My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 2

No More Black and Brown Children in Cages: The Reality of Racism and Ableism in SPS Today

by Families of Color Seattle (FOCS)


We are horrified and deeply saddened by the latest news uncovering the egregious treatment of a Black student at View Ridge Elementary School. As recently reported by KUOW, a Black second-grader named Jaleel at View Ridge Elementary School was locked up in an outdoor cage without a table or chair, multiple times, left to eat his lunch off the tray on the ground. Adult school staff, entrusted to teach and keep Jaleel safe, decided instead that putting him repeatedly (sometimes for the entire school day) in a fenced outdoor space dubbed “the cage” was an appropriate restraint for a second-grader.

Continue reading No More Black and Brown Children in Cages: The Reality of Racism and Ableism in SPS Today

OPINION: Why Does Seattle Public Schools Spend $3.2 Million on Security Guards?

by Kayla Blau


A seven-year-old Black student was put in a chokehold by a white school security guard at Stevens Elementary in March, right before schools closed due to COVID-19. The incident further exposed Seattle Public School’s commitment to punitive policing of students, a dangerous practice that fuels the school-to-prison pipeline.

KUOW reported that the student was screaming “I can’t breathe!” while the security guard, David Raybern, held her in an illegal restrictive hold with his “right forearm across her neck,” the article noted. Principal John Hughes was present for the abuse and did not intervene. 

Continue reading OPINION: Why Does Seattle Public Schools Spend $3.2 Million on Security Guards?

OPINION: What Teachers Should Know About the Experience of Being a Black Student in Seattle Public Schools

by Ramone Johnson 


My name is Ramone Johnson and I’m 17 years old. I’m from Illinois originally, and ever since I’ve been to school out here in Washington, any situation in school has been blasted way out of proportion. I want to share my experience to help students and teachers understand each other and learn to value every student and make schools a better environment for everyone.

I started recognizing I was being treated differently as one of the only Black kids in my Seattle middle school. The school administration and security guards came as hard as they possibly could towards me. If I called out the way they were treating me differently than other students, they would call me disruptive and send me out of the classroom. It’s like they wanted to prove a point when I refused to adapt to their environment. I watched them give some students extra time to finish assignments, and they wouldn’t do the same for me. What made him better than me? We were both students that needed help. Instead, they’d treat me like a terrorist. They’d have the cop and school security guard following me around all day and blame me for things I didn’t do.

Continue reading OPINION: What Teachers Should Know About the Experience of Being a Black Student in Seattle Public Schools

PHOTOS: Valentine’s Day Rally Loves the Youth and Hates the Jail

photos by Naomi Ishisaka, report by Emerald Staff

Standing under a banner that read “Love the youth, hate the jail,” activists called for continued resistance to King County’s existing youth criminal justice strategies, including the construction of a new youth jail at 12th Avenue and Alder Street.

Continue reading PHOTOS: Valentine’s Day Rally Loves the Youth and Hates the Jail

“Our Best” Fails Black Girls: An Interview with Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

by Erica C. Barnett

The story of the school-to-prison pipeline is a familiar one: Nationwide, young Black men in both public and private schools are more likely than their White counterparts to be disciplined, tracked into special education classes, and suspended for the same infractions, contributing to higher dropout rates and subsequent incarceration. Seattle is no exception to this nationwide phenomenon. In Seattle public schools, African-American boys are nearly three times as likely as White boys to be referred to special education, and fall far behind their White counterparts on nearly every standard measure of success—from third-grade reading scores, to seventh-grade math proficiency, to graduation rates. Continue reading “Our Best” Fails Black Girls: An Interview with Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw