Ending Missouri's School-to-Prison Pipeline

Separate but equal education has long been unconstitutional in the U.S. Since the landmark case 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, all students are guaranteed an equal chance to learn.

In reality, this is not the case.

Students of color and students with disabilities are disciplined far more often and with harsher disciplinary measures than their White peers for similar offenses.

The end result of this imbalanced discipline is higher rates of suspension and expulsion for children of color and those with disabilities.

Missouri ranks the eighth highest state in its expulsion of preschoolers.

Black students are 5 times more likely to be suspended than White students for the same infractions. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than their peers.

These are not just numbers—for many children they are real life.

The removal from an educational setting and lowering of self-esteem that follows raises the probability that these children will spend the rest of their lives in and out of the criminal justice system.

This is known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Missouri is one of the school-to-prison pipeline’s worst contributors.

Read Our Report

The school-to-prison pipeline is flourishing in Missouri.

Learn more about how Missouri disproportionately punishes students of color and students with disabilities.

Read the Report

During the three most recent school years, the disproportionate effect of the Pipeline on Black and disabled students has remained consistent.

  • The overall use of out of school suspensions has increased by nearly 11% over the last three school years.
  • Black students were more than 4 times more likely than their white peers to receive an out-of-school suspension.
  • Black students with disabilities were more than twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspensions compared to their White peers with disabilities.
  • These disparities become even more pronounced when looking at just students who received long-term out of school suspensions (i.e., 11 days or longer).  Black students were more than 7 times as likely to receive to a long-term OSS compared to their White peers. Students with disabilities were more than twice as likely to receive a long-term OSS compared to their non-disabled peers.

We’re dedicated to making the future brighter for Missouri’s children.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with school districts across the state to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

We are working to ensure that students and their families know their rights, as well as that school district policies and practices are in alignment with the rights of their students.


  • Columbia School District
  • Hazelwood School District
  • Hickman Mills School District
  • Raytown School District
  • University City School District


An Educator’s Perspective on Missouri’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

“For Ahkeem”: A Story About Missouri’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

The Long-term Costs of Missouri’s School-to-Prison Pipeline

Recommendations to Parents and Guardians for Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline

School To Prison Pipeline Video Series


The ACLU of Missouri advocates for the right to an equal education for all. We work to ensure that constitutional rights apply to all, regardless of race, ethnicity or disability status.

The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects students of color and students with disabilities. This campaign focuses on ending the school discipline disparities that result in a loss of opportunity for individuals and their communities as a whole.

about the report