The education justice project aims to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Hawai‘i. In particular, we advocate for indigenous and Pacific Islander youth and students with disabilities in statewide-education and juvenile justice systems to reduce disparity along the school-to-prison pipeline.
Changes to the school district’s policies result in changes across the state; the state comprises a single school district, one-third the size of Los Angeles Unified and one of the largest 20 districts in the nation. These changes can impact Native Hawaiian indigenous populations, as well as a plurality of Asian and Pacific Islander populations, which are not often studied or discussed on the mainland in the context of school discipline and juvenile justice
Utilizing local and state administrative and legislative advocacy to reduce the use of overly punitive responses to student misbehavior, the ACLU of Hawai‘i developed model legislation and that aimed to curb the use of suspensions and increase education data transparency. Both bills have data transparency and accountability components requiring the Department of to track, analyze and make public data in a way that is accessible to families and allows monitoring and enforcement of the integrity of the data.
ACLU staff directly represent, as part of impact litigation, students facing overly harsh discipline from school employees and school-based law enforcement. This includes strengthening students’ right to be free from discrimination in school, particularly in the relative severity of school discipline and ensuring schools adhere to due process procedures. Part of the goals of the impact litigation will be to reduce the amount of days a student can be suspended, from 92 days, or more than one semester, down to 7-10 days per instance and 20 total days per school year.
We have an active Title IX case representing female student athletes at Campbell High School. These athletes are not receiving equal opportunity, treatment, and benefits as compared with male student athletes.
Public outreach and education to expand awareness of current protections under law are provided via the ACLU of Hawai‘i website and periodic community meetings or presentations. We periodically host community Know Your Rights meetings with multiple stakeholders, including parents and advocacy groups.