Pictured (left to right): Mo Barbosa, Health Resources in Action (standing); Elizabeth Levitan, The EdLaw Project; Kristin Humphrey, Partners for Youth with Disabilities; Lynne Allen, Department of Youth Services Judge Connelly Youth Center; Mark Culliton, College Bound Dorchester; Ed Powell, Justice Resource Institute

B-SET for Career Network hosts spring meeting: Disability, race, and the school to prison pipeline

The B-SET for Career Network, convened by MAC, held its spring meeting on June 8, part two of a series begun at the winter meeting entitled Intersections: Disability, Race, and the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP). Mo Barbosa, Director of Community Engagement for Health Resources in Action, moderated a panel featuring representatives from The EdLaw Project, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, the Department of Youth Services, College Bound Dorchester, and the Justice Resource Institute.

Research has shown that students with disabilities are disproportionately affected negatively by school disciplinary policies and are more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system.[1] Panelists held a discussion of how disability is addressed with youth in the system and what supports are provided for re-entry to employment, education, and community life as they exit. Currently, over half of the incarcerated population has a mental illness and another 19-31% have a non-apparent disability, like cognitive or learning disabilities.[2] Panelists discussed their unique approaches to proactively disrupting the school to prison pipeline as well as supporting youth within the system.

MAC executive director Jerry Mogul opened the program with a B-SET project update, detailing the network’s collaborative work, which focuses on a common mission of developing pathways to employment for Boston Public School youth with disabilities. Currently, strategic planning for the upcoming year is the main focus of the network’s coordinating committee and six operational groups: Public and Charter Schools, Family/Community, Post-secondary Pathways, State Agencies, Opportunity Youth, and Employer Engagement. Among the current projects are initiatives to increase inclusion in afterschool programs and to expand training on hidden disabilities to Boston youth service programs.

For more information about the B-Set for Career Network, click here.

[1] “Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline.” Boston Public Schools.

[2] Calero, Samantha, et al. “The Ruderman White Paper on the Problematization and Criminalization of Children and Young Adults with Non-Apparent Disabilities.” Ruderman Family Foundation, Aug. 2017.