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OUR STUDENTS ARE BEING PUSHED OUT OF SCHOOL AND INTO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM!
The overuse of harsh school discipline, zero-tolerance policies, the criminalization of youth behavior and the disproportionate impact on students of color are causing severe harm to Colorado students, families, and communities. This is also known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Padres & Jóvenes Unidos continues to be a trailblazer locally and nationally; finding solutions, empowering communities and holding all schools accountable.

The “SMART SCHOOL DISCIPLINE LAW”

In 2012, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos, allied stakeholders and policy makers worked to pass SB 46 (HB 1345), dubbed the Smart School Discipline Law (SSDL). The SSDL provides:

  • Legislative acknowledgment of the harmful consequences of zero-tolerance in schools and that contact with the juvenile justice system should be avoided.
  • Obligation for school districts to implement “proportionate” discipline (graduated consequences) to reduce suspensions, expulsions and referrals to law enforcement.
  • Requirement of schools to implement prevention strategies, restorative justice, peer mediation, counseling, and other approaches to minimize student exposure to juvenile and criminal justice systems.
  • Substantial improvement in data collection around school-based arrests, tickets, and court referrals.
  • Prioritization of appropriate training of school-based police officers on appropriate discipline with students of color, LGBT students and students with disabilities.

This groundbreaking victory brought the progress made at the local level, with Denver Public Schools, to all 178 school districts across the state.

We have seen undeniable progress and promising developments since the passage of SSDL! Our annual statewide report card documented significant reductions in the number of suspensions, expulsions and referrals to law enforcement for student across Colorado.

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