School to Prison Pipeline Intervention Project

The Problem

Children who are suspended or expelled from school are three times more likely than their peers to drop out from school. Dropping out of school triples the likelihood a child will be incarcerated. In Massachusetts, one-third of children arrested before they turn 18 years old are arrested again within one year of that release.

That trajectory – repeated school exclusion to repeated incarceration – is the school to prison pipeline.

Children with disabilities make up 20 percent of Boston Public School students, but they account for 47 percent of the suspensions and expulsions. That means that schools are responding to children with disabilities – children who are disproportionately Latino or black – punitively rather than therapeutically. 

The Solution

You can read about the Project’s progress on this blog, updated every Tuesday. 

This Project represents children in the Boston area to keep children in school, and ensure that while they are there they are getting the trauma-informed treatment they need so they can learn. We represent children in these kinds of cases:

1.  ​School Discipline:

  • Boston-area students facing threatened suspension or expulsion
  • Boston-area students who are regularly sent home without notice or a hearing

2.  Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services (CBHI):

  • Boston-area children, young adults up to age 21, and families who either:
    • Receive MassHealth CBHI services and need advocacy related to those services,
    • Want CBHI services but are having difficulty accessing them

3.  Special Education:

  • Boston-area children and young adults who need special education advocacy and either
    • Have an emotional or behavioral disability 
    • Fit into one of the following categories:
      • Department of Youth Services-Involved
      • Department of Children and Families-Involved
      • Homeless
      • Suspended or expelled recently
      • Attending an alternative education or therapeutic school

Contact Us

If you would like to request an intake, make a referral, or have any questions about the project, contact Alison Sexson at or 617-603-1547. Alison speaks English and will use an interpreter with any client or parent who prefers a language other than English.