A graphic promoting a three-part presentation on the school-to-prison pipeline.

The City’s Office of Equity and Human Rights is hosting a three-part series on the school-to-prison pipeline. 

The protests for justice both before and after George Floyd, and the movement for restructuring law enforcement, are calls for tangible, transformative societal change. Some changes are happening because of increased bias training and greater funding for mental health in law enforcement. Public and private employers are reaching out to communities of color and working harder to recognize the challenges they face.  

All that change is welcome, but a fundamental reason for the continued calls for more social change lies in one issue, or cycle: the school-to-prison pipeline. That hidden, harmful factor is the effect of implicit bias on everyday decisions that begin in elementary school for people of color. Decisions in K-12 to discipline, suspend, or expel impact future decisions to arrest, detain, charge, and prosecute. Later, decisions are made to refuse employment because of an individual’s criminal record.

The Office’s series on the school-to-prison pipeline will be presented by social justice advocate and implicit bias specialist, Thomas Newkirk. Learn more about Thomas Newkirk's work at his website.

Part 1 introduces the various parts of the school-to-prison pipeline and provides a basic understanding of the role implicit bias plays in creating, exacerbating, and expanding that pipeline. It is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Emma Harvat Hall, City Hall, 410 E. Washington Street. This training will also be streamed on Zoom. Meeting ID: 817 2972 9670.

Part 2 digs more deeply into how bias affects discipline in education settings, juvenile justice imbalances, arrests, and even probation and employment. 

Part 3 brings it all together to discuss remedies. This includes the need for enhanced training for all decision-making groups that are part of the school-to-prison pipeline, along with enhanced data collection and monitoring of decision-making. 

To stay up to date on the time and location for future trainings, subscribe to receive news releases from the Office of Equity & Human Rights at icgov.org/subscribe.

If you need disability-related accommodations to participate in this program, please contact Equity Director Stefanie Bowers at 319-356-5022 or stefanie-bowers@iowa-city.org. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Date of publication

Tuesday, July 13, 2021