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Youth

All young people must have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in our society. The ACLU Youth Policy project seeks to ensure that young people – particularly those who have been historically excluded or underserved – receive meaningful education and services in communities, instead of being pushed to a juvenile justice system that will undermine their ability to be successful as adults. Our current focus is on reforming school discipline policies and practices, working to limit school-based referrals to the juvenile justice system, and decreasing the over-reliance on jails and prisons for young people in the juvenile and adult criminal law systems.

Topic Resources

Published: 
Monday, April 21, 2014
The ACLU of Washington has been working with allies to replace suspensions and expulsions with smarter, more effective forms of discipline.  According to new data from our friends at Washington Appleseed, students of color, students in special education programs, and students from lower-income families receive suspensions and expulsions at a higher rate than other students for similar misbehavior.
Published: 
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Last Friday morning I attended the ACLU-WA’s annual Student Conference on Civil Liberties held at the Vera Project in Seattle Center. To my surprise I found a bustling room of high school students who were much more awake than I was at 8:30 in the morning. We had a near-record 207 attendees from 12 high schools from around western Washington.
Published: 
Monday, March 24, 2014
Last week we told you about the new federal data that highlights the problem of students of color and those with disabilities being systematically denied access to education by being suspended and expelled at rates 3 to 2 times higher respectively than there peers.
Published: 
Friday, March 21, 2014
The US Department of Education has just released new data on school discipline and arrests.  
Published: 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Students of color, disabled students, and low-income students are all disciplined more often and more harshly than their classmates, despite evidence that they don’t misbehave more often or engage in more troubling behavior.
Published: 
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Children’s misbehavior should never be something they can’t recover from. That was the overarching message I heard on a recent trip to meet with leaders and advocates from the Baltimore City School District.
Published: 
Thursday, November 14, 2013
This week, one of the largest school districts in Florida announced it is replacing suspension and expulsions with a new restorative approach to school discipline – the same type of alternative approach that the ACLU of Washington is promoting here in Washington state.
Published: 
Friday, October 11, 2013
Has your son or daughter been “emergency expelled” from school for a minor disciplinary infraction that presented no threat? Has a teacher searched all the texts on your phone because you forgot to turn it off during class? Has a friend who’s trying to form a Gay-Straight Alliance at your high school been told that the group is “too controversial” and cannot hold meetings on school grounds?
Published: 
Monday, July 29, 2013
The fight for fairness in education for pregnant and parenting girls recently got a big boost – from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Education took action to make sure these girls are given the same access to education and opportunities as other students.

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