University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review

Document Type



When examining the school-to-prison pipeline, most focus on issues of exclusionary discipline, the presence of police in schools, or the use of intrusive surveillance and monitoring systems. To close the pipeline, agencies, educators, and advocates must also examine other, broader factors that contribute to educational inequities. We argue in this article that eradicating the school-to-prison pipeline involves tackling the legal structures, policies, practices, and beliefs that create harmful discipline systems and other linked inequitable systems. With Arkansas schools as our illustration, we explain how inequities in discipline, funding, and school accountability create a situation primed to send students into the pipeline. With these systems as backdrop, we explain an alternative approach to eradicating the pipeline using examples from the work of the IDRA EAC-South operated by the Intercultural Development Research Association. This approach relies on using data to identify equity gaps in policy and practice and supporting educators, administrators, and policymakers to respond effectively to these challenges. Only by taking a comprehensive approach that considers the impact of inequity in educational systems adjacent to those typically examined, including systems such as school governance and funding, can we hope to eradicate the school-to-prison pipeline.