Books Not Bars: Restoring Justice Premieres TONIGHT!

Books Not Bars: Restoring Justice Premieres TONIGHT!

Tonight is the premiere of The School Project's third segment, Restoring Justice! The School Project Team is honored to welcome mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia to our conversation tonight on educational justice! 

This installment was produced by young documentary filmmakers from Free Spirit Media. They explore the impacts of discipline policies on students, school communities, and society. Historically, excessively punitive policies have served to push allegedly disruptive students out of class and school, and have fueled the school to prison pipeline (a term that illustrates the severity of the issues).

What happens when students are funneled directly from schools unwilling to effectively handle troublesome behavior into the juvinile and criminal justice system?

Many of these students have learning disabilities, histories of poverty, abuse, or neglect, - wouldn't they benefit from additional educational and counseling services? Instead, they are isolated, punished, and pushed out, directly into the fringes, often landing in prison when an investment in their future is needed instead of an invitation to incarceration.

"Zero-tolerance" policies have criminalized seemingly minor infractions of school rules. In school cops ciminalize student behavior that should be handled within the school administration in conjunction with parents and teachers. Especially troubling is the vulnerability of students of color, often falling to discriminatory disciplinary application and push-out trends seen in urban schools.

These issues have led to the rallying cry of "Education Not Incarceration" and "Books Not Bars", championing the cause for policies more cooperative and responsive to the larger challenges with which students exhibiting behvaiorial issues may be struggling. 

This piece examines the movement toward more youth-centered, restorative justice practices, which began as a grassroots effort and has subsequently been adopted by district leadership.


Join us TONIGHT for a community discussion and film screening: 

Thursday, March 5th
North Lawndale College Prep – Collins Campus
1313 S. Sacramento Drive

5:30pm Reception
Enjoy light refreshments and share your perspectives on school discipline policies 
in an interview with youth media makers in Free Spirit PRO!

6:00pm Program
World Premiere of Restoring Justice, Spoken Word Poetry, and Panel & Audience Discussion including:

Moderator: Xavier Ramey, University of Chicago, Social Innovation & Philanthropy
Panelists: Mariame Kaba, 
Project NIA, Karen Van Ausdal, Chicago Public Schools Office of Social & Emotional Learning, Pamela Purdie, Diversity, Restorative Justice, and Violence Prevention Education, and Quabeeny Daniels, Mikva Challenge, Peace & Leadership Circles

Event is free and open to the public. RSVP requested. Please arrive early to ensure entry. 


If you can't make it to the event, watch the Live Stream at and Live Tweet your questions, comments, and thoughts using the hashtags #theschoolproject and #schooltoprisonpipeline. Be a part of the conversation! 





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