More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, many students of color continue to struggle in inadequate schools. The Racial Justice Program supports affirmative action, school integration, the improvement and equalization of educational programs and facilities, and other initiatives that help ensure high-quality education for all students.

The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking this disturbing trend called the “school-to-prison pipeline,” where the policies and practices of our nation’s public schools, especially those serving our most at-risk children, lead to an alarming number of kids in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  We believe that this pipeline is reflective of our country’s prioritization of incarceration over education.  From inadequate resources to assist students in schools to strict enforcement of the harsh zero-tolerance disciplinary actions, many students, overwhelmingly students of color, face very adult consequences for adolescent mistakes.

Additional Resources

Your Right to Equality in Education (2003 resource): Getting an education isn't just about books and grades - we're also learning how to participate fully in the life of this nation. (We're tomorrow's leaders after all!) But in order to really participate, we need to know our rights - otherwise we may lose them. The highest law in our land is the U.S. Constitution, which has some amendments, known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees that the government can never deprive people in the U.S. of certain fundamental rights including the right to freedom of religion and to free speech and the due process of law. Many federal and state laws give us additional rights, too.

RACIAL EQUALITY VS. RACIAL NEUTRALITY (1997 resource): Once again, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity to speak on one of the country’s most divisive issues: race and affirmative action. In recent years, the Court has exhibited a perturbing tendency to bury its civil rights head in the elusive, but suffocating, constitutional sand of neutrality. As the Court's sand of racial neutrality rises, the tide of racial equality washes back out to sea. We greet the upcoming term of the Supreme Court with growing fear that the Justices may yet again follow the path of racial neutrality rather than racial equality, as they have done so often of late.

A Bond Forged in Struggle: The American Civil Liberties Union's Historic Alliance with African-Americans in the Quest for Racial Justice (2006 resource)

Promoting Opportunity and Racial Equality in America: A Guide for Federal, State and Local Governments (2009 PDF)

New ACLU Report Details Pervasive Racial Discrimination in America (2007 press release)

Settlement Approved in Case Alleging School Discrimination (2007 press release)

ACLU Files Lawsuit Charging Police And School Officials In Mississippi With Racial Discrimination And Excessive Force Against Schoolchildren (2009 press release)

Most Popular

House Of Representatives Holds Hearing On Corporal Punishment In Public Schools (2010 press release)

Graduation Gap Between NCAA Black and White Student-Athletes (2011 blog)

ACLU Drops Community Education Partners From Federal Lawsuit After Atlanta Severs Contract (2009 press release)

State To Provide Homeless Children With Equal Access To Public Education (2008 press relase)

Profiles of Kids at Risk - Winner, SD (2006 resource)

50 Years Later: Brown v. Board of Education (2004 resource)

ACLU Drops Community Education Partners From Federal Lawsuit After Atlanta Severs Contract

Homeless Children Denied Equal Access to Education (2007 press release)

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