A Q&A With Mariame Kaba: Can the U.S. Snap School-to-Prison Pipeline with New Rules?

CHICAGO — Mariame Kaba is the founding director of Project NIA, a Chicago-based nonprofit that supports youth involved in the criminal justice system with a mission to eradicate the incarceration of minors. The organization teaches local schools how to implement peace circles and other dispute mediation measures. The Chicago Bureau spoke to Kaba about what the U.S. Education Department’s newly released guidelines for school discipline, which call for an end to punitive punishment, means for Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago Bureau: Project NIA has always worked in restorative justice in Chicago. Can you tell me more about what you have done in terms of reforming school discipline?

Meridian courthouse

School-to-Prison Pipeline Squeezed in Court, in Class, on the Street

If minority students face harsher punishments than white students for the same school infractions in many schools, as plenty of studies say they do, there are also people who want to change that, and the struggle is happening in courts, in state legislatures, in classrooms and at school board meetings.


South Florida Squeezes School-to-Prison Pipeline

South Florida’s Broward County School Board voted unanimously to sign new rules, written by many hands, which are meant to drive down arrests and their unintended consequences in the state’s second most populous school district. The Nov. 5 Memorandum of Understanding approved by the school board has its signatories promise “appropriate responses and use of resources when responding to school-based misbehavior.”