Decriminalizing Education

byKalah Bell

The purpose of this instructional unit is to deepen my students' understanding of the harsh realities of the school-to-prison pipeline construct and teach them how to apply principles of activism and policy making to support a dismantling of this system.  The goal is to help students to become aware of the pitfalls that exist within their own schools that could ultimately lead them down a path to incarceration and to show them how to not only avoid those pitfalls but how to overcome adversity and become a voice of support for other marginalized members of their school and community.

The instructional unit is 4-6 weeks in length and the curriculum is designed to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of the students as well as to address the needs of the adults who work with them, by cultivating positive identity development, high frequency of student teacher interactions, healthy peer relations, responsibility, avoidance of risky behaviors, communication skills (reading, writing and speaking), tools for goal setting, overcoming obstacles and having successful transitions back into their schools and communities.

(Developed for ELA and Humanities, grades 8-12; recommended for ELA and Humanities, grades 8-12)

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