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The school to prison pipeline

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Photos of the Communities for Just Schools Fund senior project team as they give their presentation on Zoom.

Team members

Jahnavi Deb, Olivia Hallisey, Akhil Maddukuri, Caroline Spertus

The organization

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights collects data on key civil rights indicators related to access and barriers to educational opportunity. This data is used by organizations like Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF), a national donor collaborative, to allocate resources to regions and communities struggling to advance educational equity.

communities for just schools fund logo

Project description

Our project focused on the school to prison pipeline issue in Florida. We analyzed several factors, including the number of school days missed due to suspensions and more disciplinary ones like referrals to law enforcement. Our results showed that Black students are disproportionately impacted regarding these topics. A further finding that we advanced following initial research conducted by our sponsor and their partners is that Miami-Dade County likely underreports ~90% of suspensions in publicized datasets through the use of facilities called “student success centers.”

Through research, we learned that these “centers” are alternative facilities to which suspended students are sent, with the majority not receiving instruction, to conceal suspension figures. Lastly, through our legislative map and timeline, we were able to pinpoint policy choices that likely contributed to an increase in school hardening trends in Florida.


The team's written paper, "The School to Prison Pipeline," won a 2020-21 Hoefer Prize for Excellence in Writing in the Major for the School of Engineering. The Hoefer Prize is awarded to only one paper per school at Stanford per year. See all Hoefer Prize winners, and read the full papers, at the link above, or follow the direct link to the team's paper here

All 2021 senior projects