Deconstructing Racism and Ableism in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The Institute on Disabilities (IOD) at Temple University, Pennsylvania's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in partnership with the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC) at the University of Pennsylvania completed an innovative intervention and community training project that brought awareness to and addressed the reality that race and disability are salient factors in the continuation of the school-to-prison pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline describes the process through which children of color are pathologized, criminalized, and pushed out of their communities and schools into disciplinary schools, detention centers, jails, and prisons. While the school-to-prison pipeline is often described as a single force operating in isolation, it is important to understand how many factors contribute to the unfortunate success of this machine.

To better understand these multiple factors the Institute on Disabilites has made available to the public two asynchronous and accessible digital trainings that can be viewed at the IOD's website. Training materials include accessible audiovisual recordings of facilitators leading the trainings, a downloadable version of the training Powerpoint, and a resource guide with over 50 online sources for further learning. Both trainings are designed for school, community, juvenile justice, judicial system, social work, and law enforcement professionals. We encourage anyone interested in learning about the connections between racism and ableism to participate in these trainings and review the resource materials.

Project Facilitors

Training Content Warning from Sally Gould-Taylor, Interim Executive Director, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

As you participate in this virtual training about racism, ableism, and the school-to-prison pipeline, I encourage you to allow yourself time and space to process the heavy topics, disturbing historical events and video clips, and personal stories shared by the trainers. You may pause, stop, restart, and rewind the modules at any point.

You may experience moments of deep emotion during these videos. If you have concerns about encountering a specific trigger, please contact me and I will do my best to flag the requested trigger in advance. We want you to feel supported to bravely and thoughtfully engage with the material.

As you work through the content, please remember that these recordings were produced over several days during the early period of the Covid-19 pandemic. We encourage you to continue these conversations about racism and ableism together within your own communities as too often we do not speak about how these two forms of discrimination mutually influence and intersect with one another. Thank you for your efforts to reckon with racism and ableism and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. Please contact us with any questions, comments, or if you are interested in collaborating with us on future projects.

Training 1: Building a Foundational Knowledge Base

Training 1 Introduction

Through this training you will gain foundational knowledge, build awareness, and deepen your understanding of race, racism, disability and ableism and the school-to-prison pipeline. Specifically, you will learn how racism and ableism are intrinsically linked historically and today. The training also provides background on how eugenics and marginalization have historically contributed to the exclusion of individuals with disabilities and people of color from society. As you complete the training you will also make connections between training topics and current events such as Covid-19 related healthcare rationing and ongoing conversations about police reform.

Watch Training 1 Introduction

Training 1 Topics

Training 2: Moving from Awareness to Action

Training 2 Introduction

Training 2 builds upon Training 1. Participation in Training 1 is not required to participate in Training 2. In this training you will learn about techniques to identify and reduce stressors in face-to-face interactions, hear stories from the facilitators lived experiences with racism and ableism, and you will receive guidance on how to construct your own stories for social change.

Watch Training 2 Introduction

Training 2 Topics

Training Materials


This project, School to Prison Pipeline, is supported in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, through grant number 1801PABSDD, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.


General questions about the Deconstructing Racism trainings:
General information about the Institute on Disabilities:

Individual facilitators:
Sally Gould-Taylor -
Shawn Aleong -
Stormy Kelsey -
Mazzii Ingram -

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