Want to know what heartbreak looks like? Just ask any teacher working in a poorly performing public school. They see it everyday working in a system that promises “no child left behind” but practices “zero tolerance” policies when it comes to black male students. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, 1 in 3 Black boys born in 2001 in America are at risk of imprisonment during their lifetime.
Too often, our public schools in America are drop-out factories that directly and indirectly push students toward the criminal justice system by over disciplining, testing-out, transferring, suspending, and expulsion. This is the blueprint for the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), which according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, is ingrained into America’s local, state, and federal education and public safety policies.
This system may be the reason young Black men and boys are criminalized and over-incarcerated relative to others groups. We sent Serena Reed, our Philadelphia-based Game Changers filmmaker to document the work of a group of black men who are working to close the pipeline down. She produced the following micro-documentary that offers hope and proof that young black men are committed and organized to take on and dismantle the Prison Industrial Complex and transform their future.