The School-to-Prison Pipeline: from Perceptions to Solutions

 NHERW poster


The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Office Of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, and American Indian Center come together for the 20th annual National Health Equity Research Webcast. The broadcast is an interactive, live-streamed symposium that explores the intersection of health, policy, and diversity through expert panel discussions and a question-and-answer segment. The topic for the 2014 year’s webcast “The School-to-Prison Pipeline: from Perceptions to Solutions” was designed to advance dialogue and research on the local and national impact of the issue. “School to Prison Pipeline” refers to multiple policies and practices enacted within schools such as “zero tolerance”, suspensions and expulsions, school based arrests, disciplinary alternative schools, juvenile detentions and criminal justice procedures for minor infractions.

View the 2014 Archived Webcast

Abstracts & Slides
Additional Resources

 The “School to Prison Pipeline” broadcast featured three short presentations followed by an extended question-and-answer session with the studio and remote audiences.

Anthony A. Peguero

Anthony A. Peguero

Anthony A. Peguero is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and research affiliate of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech. His research interests involve youth violence, socialization and marginalization, schools, and the adaptation of the children immigrants. He serves as a consultant on the Cartoon Network’s campaign against bullying, and the editorial board for the journal of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Sociology Compass, Crime and Deviance Section. He is also a National Institute Justice W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow, 2014 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Tory J. Caeti Outstanding Young Scholar Award Winner, 2013 American Society of Criminology Coramae Richey Mann Award Winner, and member of the Racial Democracy, Crime, and Justice Network which holds the dual goals of advancing research on the intersection of race, crime and justice and of promoting racial democracy within the study of these issues by supporting junior scholars from under-represented groups.



Melina Healey

Melina Angelos Healey is a lawyer who has represented youth and adults in criminal cases and civil rights matters at several indigent legal services organizations and public defender offices. She started her career helping young people caught at the beginning of the school-to-prison pipeline.  She served for several years as the education advocate for the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice, where her clients were youth, primarily children of color, from low-income families who experienced school push-out, inadequate special education services, and involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Having witnessed the devastating consequences of the pipeline first hand, she went on to research the ways in which this phenomenon plays out in rural communities, and in particular on American Indian reservations in Montana.  She is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was Executive Editor of Review of Law and Social Change and received the NYU Public Interest Pro-Bono Award.


Gary Flowers

Gary Flowers

Gary Flowers, CEO of Gary Flowers and Associates has been on the front line of American civil rights and public policy formation since 1989, having been trained at the historic law firm of Hill, Tucker & Marsh in Richmond, VA. Throughout his career, Mr. Flowers has influenced the public policy landscape on a state, national, and international stage through policy formation and direct action, Mr. Flowers has served as Special Assistant in the Cabinet of Virginia Governor Lawrence Douglas Wilder; the youngest state bar Executive Director in the nation; Public Policy Analyst as the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC; Teaching Fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; deputy Chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention Committee in Boston, MA; and Vice President for Public Policy for Reverend Jesse L. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Most recently, Mr. Flowers served as the Executive Director and CEO of the Black Leadership Forum, Inc., based in Washington, DC.


Christopher Hill

Moderator: Christopher Hill

Christopher Hill serves as the Director, Education & Law Project at the North Carolina Justice Center (NCJC). Before joining the NCJC, was the State Strategies Coordinator with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project.  While at the ACLU, Chris engaged in public education and legislative advocacy.  Chris has also worked as a Supervising Attorney for Legal Services of New Jersey, where he sought to remove legal barriers impeding prisoners’ successful re-entry back into society.  In addition to extensive litigation experience, Chris has spent a great deal of his legal career, including his time as a National Association for Public Interest Law (now Equal Justice Works) Equal Justice Fellow, conducting outreach to educate the community about legal issues. Chris is excited about moderating this thought provoking discussion and brings a wealth of knowledge on the impact of restorative justice and disproportionate impact of suspensions of students from under-represented groups in North Carolina. Chris received his B.A. and his J.D. from Rutgers University.

Anthony A. Peguero (Abstract of Presentation)

Research demonstrates that youth who are disciplined at school can be diverted onto a path toward social exclusion, educational failure, and economic insolvency. The conceptualization of the school-to-prison pipeline and criminalization has emerged from researchers revealing the increasing punishment of marginalized and vulnerable students.  Therefore, this presentation will provide an overview of how the “School to Prison Pipeline” is associated with:

1)       Safety (e.g. rules and norms; physical safety; social-emotional safety); Relationships (e.g. respect for diversity; school connectedness-engagement; social support– adults; social support – students; leadership); Teaching and Learning (e.g. social, emotional, ethical and civic learning; support for learning; professional relationships); and the Institutional Environment (e.g. physical surrounding).
2)      The significance of race and ethnicity, immigration, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual identity or orientation, and disability.
3)      Detrimental educational, social, health, employment, and criminal justice outcomes.
4)      Potential responses or programs such as restorative justice and communal schools 

School-to-Prison Pipeline_Peguero.

Gary Flowers (Abstract of Presentation)

1)      Socio-economic factors in low-income, communities of color
2)      Using direct action as a means of organizing public awareness
3)      Petitioning legislative bodies for progressive public policy

Will not be using a powerpoint

Melina Healey (Abstract of Presentation)

1)      The current crisis from a national perspective capturing both civil rights and human rights concerns;
2)      Identification of the major factors pushing kids into STPP (discipline practices, etc.);
3)      Localized impacts; and
4)      Examples of reform efforts (practice perspective)

A Tale of Two Pipelines Melina

The National Health Equity Research Webcast is an interdisciplinary, collaborative effort that builds on the expertise and support of UNC campus partners, community agencies, researchers and practitioners in health and education fields. The webcast appeals to organizations and individuals in North Carolina and across the nation with a focus on health equity, educational achievement and economic stabilization in all areas within our society. Our partners and donors for 2014 are listed below.


($5,000 – $9,999)

Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC
Barbara K. Rimer, Dr.P.H.
Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor
Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, UNC
Taffye Benson Clayton, Ed.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC
Sam Odom, Ph.D.
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, UNC
Barbara Entwisle, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Research and Kenan Distinguished Professor

($2,500 – $4,999)
Office of Special Programs, UNC School of Medicine
Cedric Bright, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Special Programs and Admissions and Associate Professor of Medicine

($1,000 – $2,499)
Student Wellness, UNC
Dean Blackburn
Director and Associate Dean of Students
Student Affairs, UNC
Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, Wake Forest University
Ronny A. Bell, Ph.D., MS
College of Arts and Sciences, UNC
Karen Gill Ph.D.
Dean and Lee G. Pendersen Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry

 Special Friend
($500 – $999)
Kenan Flagler Business School, UNC
Douglas Shackelford, Ph.D.
Dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation

Institute of Arts and Humanities, UNC
Health Behavior, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Leslie Lytle
, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair

($100 – $499)
Department of Biostatistics, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Michael R. Kosorok, Ph.D.
Chair and W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor
Maternal and Child Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Herbert Peterson, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Center for the Study of the American South, UNC
Kenneth Janken, Ph.D.
Interim Director and Professor, African, African American, and Diaspora Studies
Gillings Global Gateway, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Heath Policy and Management, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Sandra Greene, Dr.Ph.
Professor of the Practice, Interim Chair
Parr Center for Ethics, UNC
Jan Boxill, Ph.D.
Center for Health Equity Research, UNC
Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc.
Director and Professor of Social Medicine and Medicine, School of Medicine
School of Information and Library Science, UNC
Gary Marchionini, Ph.D.
Dean and Boshamer Distinguished Professor
Office of Undergraduate Admissions, UNC
Stephen Farmer
Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions

 In-Kind Contributors American Indian Center, UNC
Amy Locklear Hertel, Director
Andy Mink, Executive Director
School of Social Work, UNC
Jack M. Richman, Ph.D., Dean and Professor
School of Education, UNC
Bill McDiarmid, Ph.D., Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Education
Gillings School of Global Public Health Instructional and Information Systems
Kathy Anderson, Assistant Dean for Information Technology
O.J. McGhee, Manager,
Instructional Media Services
Department of Epidemiology fiscal office and administrative support

 Endorsements and Partners Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, School of Law, UNC
Institute of African American Research, UNC
North Carolina Health Career Access Program, UNC
Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI)
American College of EpidemiologyYouth Justice North Carolina

The 20th National Health Equity Research Webcast is presented by

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Minority Heath Project

UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs


Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

UNC School of Education

American Indian Center, UNC

Broadcast Co-Directors

Marco J. Barker, Ph.D., Senior Director for Education, Operations, and Initiatives, DMA, UNC

Victor J. Schoenbach, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC

Broadcast Coordinators

Sharbari Dey, M.S.W. Education Program Coordinator, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, UNC

Trinnette Cooper, M.P.H. Coordinator for Diversity Programs and Recruitment; Office of Student Affairs, Gillings School of Public Health, UNC

DeVetta Holman Nash, M.P.H. Strategic Planner for Diversity Initiatives, Student Wellness, UNC

Planning Committee

Travis Albritton, M.S.W., M.Div, Clinical Assistant Professor; Director, Triangle Distance Education MSW Program, School of Social Work, UNC

Danny Bell, American Indian Studies Program, American Studies Department, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC

Brandy Bynum, M.P.A., Director of Policy and Outreach, NC Child

Allison De Marco, M.S.W., Ph.D., Investigator; Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC

Claudia Gollop, Ph.D., Frances Carroll McColl Term Professor and Summer School Director, School of Information and Library Science, UNC

Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC

Christopher Hill, J.D., Director, Education & Law Project, North Carolina Justice Center

William C. (“Bill”) Jenkins, M.S., Ph.D., Co-Director, Minority Health Project, UNC

Andy Mink, Executive Director, LEARN NC

O.J. McGhee, Manager, Instructional Media Services, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Shamieka L. Rhinehart, J.D., Assistant District Attorney, Durham District Attorney’s Office, NC

Sharon Holmes Thomas, M.S.W., Assistant Dean, Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid, School of Social Work, UNC

Pamela J. Winton, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC

Technical Production Team

Video production Producer / Director: O.J. McGhee, Manager, SPH IIS Instructional Media Services

Moderator: Christopher Hill, J.D.,
Director, Education & Law Project, North Carolina Justice Center

Q and A Moderator: Whitney Sewell, Graduate Student , School of Social Work, UNC

Floor Director: Cathy Campbell

Camera Operators: Greg Adams, Owen Scott, Russell Clemons

Video Editor: Tom Laney

Webcast Page Support: Andrew Ochs

Facility coordinator: Andy Chrismon, School of Social Work

IT consultant: Manny Garcia, Director CITU, School of Social Work

Teleprompting Service: Caption Perfect (Will Halman)

Social Media Assistants: Andre Brown, Kristin Black

Ushers: Kayla Humphrey, Leticia Brandon, Aubrey Everett

Live Video Stream Services: ScherShot Productions

Marketing and Communications

Additional Credits Publicity and Program design: Miki Kersgard, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Program Assistant: Katherine Max, Margie Scott

SPH Department of Instructional and Information Systems
Kathleen D. Barboriak, PhD, Assistant Dean

Instructional Media Services,
O. J. McGhee, Manager

Site facilitators and technical coordinators in group viewing sites

 Special  Thanks

Staff of the UNC School of Social Work

Staff of the UNC School of Education

Department of Epidemiology: fiscal office, information technology, and secretarial staff

Tavis Smiley Reports, Education Under Arrest (Link)
Patricia J. Williams, The War on Drugs Is a War on Kids. The Nation, March 4, 2013 (Link)
Mychal Denzel Smith, The School-to-Prison Pipeline Starts in Preschool (Article in The Nation) (Moyers & company)
Special issue: The School-to-Prison Pipeline. Journal of Educational Controversy, Fall 2012 / Winter 2013, vol 7, no. 1 (Link)
Film: The War on Kids, directed by Cevin Soling (website) (2/27/2014 review in the NY Times) (Facebook page)
Film: Kids for Cash, directed by Robert May (website) (2/27/2014 review in the NY Times)
Student-produced video: North Carolina’s School-to-Prison Pipeline (Watch), Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (Link)
Southern Poverty Law Center (website); Teaching Tolerance magazine examines school-to-prison pipeline, offers tips to keep students out of criminal justice system (article) (more)
National Research Council. The growth of incarceration in the United States: exploring causes and consequences. Washington, DC. The National Academies Press, 2014. (Link)
Organizations: ACLU, Children’s Defense Fund, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, NAACP LDF, The Advancement Project.

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