South Carolina Appleseed School to Prison Pipeline Project Fact Sheets for Families

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Is Your Child Having School Discipline Problems?

Has Your Child Been Suspended, Expelled, or Charged with a Crime at School?

Help us solve this problem.

Learn more about getting help for your student and connect with other families who are experiencing these same problems.

If you would like to talk with others about school-discipline problems, please call SC Appleseed at (803) 779-1113, extension 108 or e-mail us at


We Must Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline in South Carolina!

What is the school-to-prison pipeline?

“School-to-prison pipeline” is what people around the country call it when schools lock up, rather than educate, our children. When students get harsh discipline such as school-based arrests, alternative schools, or suspension and expulsion, it becomes much more likely that they will drop out of school. We know that students who drop out of school are much more likely to end up in prison than students who graduate.

South Carolina, like other states, has a school-to-prison pipeline. It starts when students are suspended or expelled for minor offenses, or charged with a crime under a statute like Disturbing Schools for actions that are not violent or severe.

What can be done about the school-to-prison pipeline?

Many things can make the difference in whether a student gets pushed onto the path to prison. For one, students must be treated fairly when they are disciplined. When schools decide to suspend or expel a student, officials must follow certain steps that protect students' rights. And, for students with special needs, there are even more protections, which are written in law, that must be followed.

Changes must happen at several levels to help all students. Our schools must provide a welcoming setting that encourages kids to stay in school, not a punishing one. Using programs like School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is much better than using destructive methods such as zero tolerance. Schools should use harsh discipline only when it is necessary to keep students and teachers safe. State law on school discipline should be clear on when schools can use harsh punishments.

What is SC Appleseed doing about the school-to-prison pipeline in South Carolina?

SC Appleseed has collected data through interviews with parents and students from all over the state about their schools. We have talked with students who have been suspended and expelled and helped families find solutions to these problems and made sure that students were treated fairly. We have educated school officials about using alternative approaches to harsh discipline. We have helped families make sure students receive services they need under special-education law that can prevent discipline problems for students with disabilities. We are also looking statewide at the districts where harsh school discipline is happening most often, and looking at school policies that may be pushing kids out of school, instead of keeping them on track to graduate.

How can SC Appleseed help my student and me?

For change to happen, we must build a strong group of people who are willing to tell school leaders and policymakers that the school-to-prison pipeline must end. SC Appleseed is connecting students with the help they need to stay in school, and connecting families who have had school-related problems with other such families to work together on solutions. We are helping parents understand better ways of discipline schools can use, such as School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

We need input from families dealing directly with school-discipline issues to find solutions. You have the opportunity not only to help your family and other families who may be facing similar problems, but to find solutions for students all over the state. If you would be willing to join a parent group, please contact South Carolina Appleseed.

To participate, or just to learn more, please call SC Appleseed at (803) 779-1113, extension 108 or contact us by e-mail at: