About That “School To Prison Pipeline”…

News and Observer Ed blog has an article up quoting Wake County Board member, Jim Martin, on the alleged ‘school to prison pipeline’.   The article cites the group “Education Justice Alliance” as taking exception to Martin’s comments.

Excerpt from N&O:

“Certain schools and districts deserve close scrutiny for their harmful practices,” Langberg and Fedders wrote. “Wake County retained its position as the leader in long-term suspensions. It had 10 percent of the state’s public school students but gave out 25 percent of its long-term suspensions.”

Martin came to the district’s defense on Facebook.

“I encourage everyone who cares about this issue to recognize there is not a school-to-prison pipeline,” Martin wrote. “There is a POVERTY-TO-PRISON pipeline. Schools are by no means perfect, but they probably do more to break the poverty-to-prison pipeline than any other organization. No, schools are not yet good enough to completely brake this pipeline. There is plenty more work we need to do. But if schools had a bit more help from the community breaking the cycle of poverty, we could all end any pipeline to prisons.”

For the uninitiated, the main thrust of the  ‘school to prison pipeline’ campaign is that minority students are suspended more than white students because school discipline policies allegedly discriminate against minorities.

This perceived discrimination is based on the large number of suspensions or disciplinary cases that involve minority students. It’s a flawed correlation vs causation argument. Somehow, a set of policies is responsible for the actions of certain students?

There’s a punchline to Martin’s comments and the subsequent dismay by the Education Justice Alliance. He and the Wake School Board invited this ‘school to prison pipeline’ of attack in. Keep reading, you’ll see why.

Let’s start with the question: Who is the “Education Justice Alliance”?

EJA is one of the plaintiffs on a lawsuit against multiple sheriff departments with regard to allegations that Wake county schools policies and practices disproportionately discriminate and harm African-American students. This is arguably referring to the “school to prison pipeline”.
See the complaint filing.

The EJA website is registered through “NationBuilder” by Angeline Eschevarria of the left leaning group ‘immigrant and latino’ advocacy group, El Pueblo.  El Pueblo is a partner of BlueprintNC and has worked with labor groups and the NC NAACP with great frequency.

EJA is affiliated with the “Youth Organizing Institute” (YOI) and “NC HEAT”.
Read more about NC HEAT and YOI and the groups that back them, such as labor unions.

EJA is a project run by a woman named Rukiya Dillahunt.  She’s been featured in the N&O before proposing ‘equality solutions‘ for Wake County Schools.

She and her husband, Ajamu, are long-time activists and are members of a group called ‘Black Workers For Justice’:

“During one protest, veteran BWFJ member Rukiya Dillahunt was chided by a white participant for holding a sign saying “Stop the War on Black America.” The person felt it should say “and white Americans.”

“I put her in check,” said Dillahunt, “by laying out the high Black unemployment rates, mass incarceration, and the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ we face.”
– Labor Notes.org
9/23/13 by Ajamu Dillahunt

Dillahunt’s husband is employed by the NC Justice Center, which is also one of the groups listed in the lawsuit I first mentioned. NC Justice Center started and helps run the non-profit group BlueprintNC. You may recall that a leaked memo revealed the mission of Blueprint and its partners to “eviscerate, mitigate, litigate, cogitate and agitate” Republican leaders in North Carolina.

The Dillahunts have been influencing the Wake County School Board for some time now. They are also involved in the group “Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children” which advocated to the Wake School Board to drop zeroes from minority student grades because that action is ‘too punitive‘.


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
This entry was posted in A.P. Dillon (LL1885), BlueprintNC, EDUCATION, Racial Justice, Wake County School Board and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to About That “School To Prison Pipeline”…

  1. Kathy Young says:

    Andrea, I didn’t include this point because my comment was getting long, but you might make the point when poverty is a topic. Nearly every person officially in poverty today has far more than the average person did 100 or 200 years ago — and it still isn’t “enough.”

    The average person 100 years ago didn’t have a telephone, electricity, air conditioning, television, a car, radios, a refrigerator, a microwave oven, video games, a cell phone, expensive athletic shoes, free school breakfast and lunch for kids, or many other things that The Poor usually take for granted unless they are living in a refrigerator box under the overpass.

    Many of The Poor today don’t work at all but have free housing, food stamps, free medical care, free dental care, free breakfast and lunch for kids, free after-school care, and free daycare. The free housing often includes free cable TV and free wi-fi. Yet somehow what luxuries they don’t have are used as an excuse for crime.

    When I was teaching for many years in public school, many of the welfare moms complaining to me about what their children didn’t have (somehow expecting me, the underpaid teacher, to provide it) drove nicer cars and had a higher standard of living without working, while I worked 3 jobs to support my children, refused to accept the free lunches for which they qualified, and didn’t own a TV.

    Yes, there are many legitimately poor people. But poverty today is often defined as not having everything you want that somebody else has. So it’s more often GREED that sends people to prison, not lack of necessities. It’s hard to think of somebody as Poor who is talking on his cell phone and smoking cigarettes.

    Be blessed,
    Kathy Young
    (I’m still trying to teach Don Watson to say your name right.)


  2. Kathy Young says:

    I taught at a maximum security prison (for the most severe offenders) for several years, and every one of the inmates who talked about their backgrounds told me that they had PARENTS who were uninvolved or bad examples. They didn’t fault their schools or complain about poverty. Poverty is NOT a pipeline to prison either. PARENT FAILURE is the causation factor — parents who don’t discipline kids, don’t spend time with them, don’t encourage them, don’t hold them accountable, don’t teach them right from wrong, and especially don’t model responsible behavior. Parents who teach their children BY EXAMPLE to lie and cheat and steal and blame others for their own bad behavior have children who usually go to prison. MANY of us who grew up in poverty are moral, model citizens. Poverty is not the root cause, any more than schools are. Parents who blame the schools or society or poverty for their children’s bad behavior are the ones who taught those kids to not be responsible.


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