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Open Access Publications from the University of California

LGBTQ Youth of Color in the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Freedom, Liberation, and Resistance


Abstract: Emergent research suggests Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth experience increased discipline in school, as well as increased exposure to the criminal justice system outside of school. Additionally, much has been written in recent years about the school-to-prison pipeline’s (StPP) impact upon large numbers of youth of color in the United States. However, a large portion of the existing research regarding the StPP often presumes heterosexuality in dealing with student populations. Further, what research exists on queer and transgender youth in schools often fails to address race in any meaningful way, thus misleading people to assume that the problems facing LGBTQ youth are racially neutral in nature. This paper seeks to synthesize some of the systemic factors that propel school pushout and student criminalization, and impact intersectionally-marginalized student populations like LGBTQ youth of color, as well as pose some possible critical pedagogical interventions in resisting the criminalization of these students under an increased neoliberal governmentality.

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