Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Education

Committee Chair Name

Dr. David Ellerd

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Eric Van Duzer

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The “School-to-Prison pipeline” is an ongoing challenge and trend in the public school system in America due to inequity in the educational system, discriminatory policies towards students and families of color, and a lack of resources aimed at supporting at-risk youth and the economically disadvantaged within the community. Public schools have made continued progress in shifting their disciplinary policies away from punitive, “zero tolerance” models and towards positive behavioral interventions, but there continues to be a disproportionate number of students ending up in the school-to-prison-pipeline from economically disadvantaged communities and homes. Lawmakers continue to create policies in an effort to make schools safer and more efficient, but do not consider the detriment and alienation this impact has on the students or families within the community, and potential harmful affects these policies could have on children’s futures. A qualitative survey was conducted at a public, continuation high school in the San Francisco Unified School District with staff members over the age of 18, to determine whether or not the school-to-prison-pipeline is still a challenge our educational system is facing, and whether or not there are adequate supports or measures in place to support students and keep them in school. Results from this survey suggest that there continues to be an increasing number of students pushed into the school-to-prison-pipeline and a system that is unable to support students in the comprehensive high school setting, which leaves them with limited skill sets and restricted options when it comes to their futures. Based on the findings, the recommendation is that districts incorporate work experience programs to incentivize students to stay in school, while also helping to support their socioeconomic need to help support their families, in a meaningful and productive way. In addition, districts should explore community-based programs to help support and educate families in addressing concerns such as trauma, community violence, and unstable home environments that continue to prove a detriment to student’s ability to perform in school, and consequentially plague students overall well being.

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Thesis/Project Location