The ACLU's Racial Justice Program is committed to challenging the "school to prison pipeline," a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

"Zero-tolerance" policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while high-stakes testing programs encourage educators to push out low-performing students to improve their schools' overall test scores. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

Need Legal Help with a Discipline Issue?

The ACLU is partnering with the Youth Justice Clinic to help students and parents dealing with discipline issues. YJC is offering free legal services for young people facing suspension or expulsion from schools in Detroit.

The clinic will also provide legal representation to youth whose cases are referred to juvenile court. The mission of the Youth Justice Clinic is to ensure that all students in Detroit have access to quality legal representation at some of the most challenging moments in their lives.

If you have questions, need legal representation in juvenile court or have been notified of a pending suspension/expulsion hearing at school please contact the Youth Justice Clinic for a free consultation at (313)596-9805, or email

Key News and Resources

Contact us to volunteer to help end the school-to-prison pipeline

Student Know Your Rights Cards (pdf)

Reclaiming Michigan’s Throwaway Kids: Students Trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline (pdf)

► The School to Prison Pipeline

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