The End to Systematic Oppression in Colorado
My project is focused on the school-to-prison pipeline in Colorado. My motivation towards my project comes from my brother who was a victim of the school-to-prison pipeline. Similarly, I have seen friends and neighbors fall into the system that criminalizes children in schools and pushes them into the criminal system. Longitudinal research shows that twelve years after a suspension, suspended youth are less likely than non suspended youth to have earned a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree. Suspended youth are more likely to have been arrested and on probation, which suggests that suspension, rather than selection bias, explains negative outcomes. According to Padres y Jovenes Unidos, for the 2018-19 school year in Colorado, Black students were 3.2 times more likely to be suspended than white students, and Hispanic students were 1.7 times more likely to be suspended than white students. In the 2017-18 school year, over four thousand students across Colorado were issued a citation or arrested for a nonviolent misdemeanor on school property. I have received an internship with a legislature on the judicial branch and I have been able to help create factsheets and new ideas on ways we can dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. On the House committee, we pushed bill SB21-182 to be supported by other members by lobbying and calling legislatures. Some implications were receiving support from people because they did not agree with the bill. Unfortunately, the bill was withdrawn on the Senate floor. I have also created a presentation on the school-to-prison pipeline to bring awareness and resources to local youth groups in Denver. This presentation has been shared and has brought a lot of awareness on the issue and the ways it can impact families.