Where Does Your State Rank in Feeding the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Date:  04-15-2015

Children with special needs and children of color disproportionately referred to criminal justice system
If you have ever wondered what role your state plays in the school-to-prison pipeline you are now able to find out quickly. The Center for Public Integrity used data from the U.S. Department of Education to compile a list of each state’s rank in referring children, per 1,000 students , to the juvenile justice system. The Center for Public Integrity reported:

  • The national rate of referrals to law enforcement agencies was six students for every 1,000 pupils, with 19 states surpassing that rate.

  • Virginia had about 16 referrals for every 1,000 students, followed by Delaware with almost 15; Florida with more than 12; and Wyoming and New Hampshire with nearly 12 referrals for every 1,000 students.

  • Massachusetts, Ohio, Nevada and Washington, D.C., reported the lowest rates of referrals, at two or fewer students per 1,000.

  • Even states not among those with the highest overall rates of referrals had individual schools that stood out. Bedford County, Tennessee’s Cascade High School had a referral rate of 157 per 1,000 students.

  • About 26 percent of all students referred to law enforcement nationally were special-needs kids — kids with physical or learning disabilities — even though these kids represent only 14 percent of U.S. enrollment.

  • In most states, black and Latino kids were referred in percentages that were disproportionate to their enrollment numbers.

    To find your state’s ranking click here.