Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline
Marlyn Tillman’s 15-year-old son was suspended from school for trivial, and as she discovered, racist reasons. She challenged the school and eventually organized a group of parents who were having similar problems. When she first started investigating the problem, anecdotal data pointed at the punitive and excessive punishment especially of students who were black male and had special needs. Eventually the families collected enough data to discover a pattern of excessive punishment of students of color. Black boys with special needs were the most vulnerable to disciplinary actions that were sending them to alternative schools and eventually pushing them out of the school system. Even white students with special needs were affected. Eventually Marlyn’s son was given information on his ADHD-caused behaviors and became an honor student in high school excelling in International Baccalaureate classes.
The Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett SToPP) seeks to build and strengthen relationships within the community through public awareness, empowerment, and advocacy. The organization has other concurrent activities that are all related to advocating for an excellent and equitable education for all children. They collect relevant data, influencing policy and practice locally and statewide and transforming their neighborhood public schools.