The American Civil Liberties Union calls the “School-To-Prison Pipeline” (STPP) one of the most important civil rights challenges facing our nation today (view the Advancement Project’s STPP report). The term refers to what the organization cites as a national trend of criminalizing, rather than educating, the nation’s children. It is carried out, the ACLU says, through zero-tolerance discipline, school-based arrests, disciplinary alternative schools and secured detention to marginalize disadvantaged youth and deny them access to a quality education. In an effort to raise public awareness and map out prevention strategies, the ACLU of Georgia is teaming up with several other non-profit organizations to hold a series of five regional community symposiums. The overall objective, organizers say, is to bring together students, parents, community groups, elected representatives and faith-based organizations. All of the information compiled will be included in a statewide action plan that would highlight community-based solutions as well as proven local and national strategies for change. ACLU of Georgia Legal Director Chara Jackson spoke to JJIE’s Chandra Thomas about the focus of the forums being held next month across the state — from Atlanta to Valdosta.