This past weekend, a number of Seneca WA staff attended the fourth annual WA State Charter Schools’ Association conference named “Onward: Advancing Excellence and Equity.” John Scott, Seneca WA’s fantastic Director of DEI, and Alex Mehling, our wonderful Lead Clinician and Clinical Supervisor, led a standing-room-only workshop called, “Examining (and Interrupting) the School to Prison Pipeline: Practicing for Revolution and Social Change with (and within) Our Communities.”
This workshop was an abbreviated version of a more involved training that John and Alex provide for schools and other partners focused on understanding more about the school to prison pipeline. It supported participants in having a deepened dialogue about the ‘heart’ of our work and the diverse communities we serve. John and Alex used a culturally humble framework/lens, inviting participants to think about the negative messaging they have personally received related to their gender, class, race, sexual orientation, etc.—this lens was intended to be utilized to view/understand how our systems ‘open the door’ to these interpersonal biases— hence, the school to prison pipeline.
Participants talked through how to identify the dynamics of systemic oppression and how to disrupt them. More specifically, we discussed how charter schools were perpetuating and/or disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline. The session was highly engaging and very well received by all.
To explore this topic, John and Alex strongly recommend watching Ava DuVernay’s film “13th”, which is available to stream on Netflix.