Stopping School Pushout in Louisiana

NESRI partners with Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a state-wide community-based organization of parents and family members, to document the human rights impact of excessive suspensions and expulsions, to reform state and local zero-tolerance laws and to implement positive behavior support strategies in schools. 

School Pushout in New Orleans

Schools in the Recovery School District in New Orleans, and across the state of Louisiana, exhibit a prison-like atmosphere and employ discipline polices that penalize and remove students instead of supporting and facilitating their growth and education.  FFLIC challenges the excessive and harmful discipline policies that are pushing our children out of school and hastening their entry into the juvenile – and eventually the criminal – justice system.

In 2008, NESRI and FFLIC began a collaborative human rights documentation project, holding workshops for FFLIC parents and community members on human rights and the school to prison pipeline, and carrying out participatory human rights surveys in their community.  In the Spring of 2010, we released the report, "Pushed Out: Harsh Discipline in Louisiana Schools Denies the Right to Education – A Focus on the Recovery School District."  The report documents that within the state-run Recovery School District in New Orleans, the expulsion rate is ten times the national rate and 1 in every 4 students was suspended in a single year, twice the statewide rate and over four times the national rate.  Since the report release, FFLIC won passage of a state law expanding training for Louisiana teachers in positive classroom management, and is currently drafting a bill to reform state laws to limit the use of suspension and expulsion.

Watch the trailer for FFLIC’s documentary Stopping the School to Prison Pipeline to learn more about their work in New Orleans schools.

Jena 6

In September 2007, NESRI participated in rallies and presented at a town hall meeting in Louisiana to protest the criminalization of six African American youth arrested in Jena, Louisiana for a fight on school grounds (more information on the Panel Presentation).   NESRI coordinated letters to the Governor of Louisiana signed by over 30 human rights organizations (Read the letter to Governor Blanco).