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Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline in Detroit

The Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline (DSTOPP) initiative in Detroit is a research-practice partnership funded by the Spencer Foundation. It is allied with the Urban Learning and Leadership Collaborative of Detroit’s Hope Village. DSTOPP is dedicated to building and supporting a collaborative network of community members, high-school-aged youth, and faculty members from various universities who advance justice through community-driven, action research. Focus: Hope, a Detroit civil rights organization, is a key DSTOPP partner. In addition to supporting research teams who are part of the collaborative network, DSTOPP coordinators are studying the work involved with building a community of action researchers and considering how such collaboration can disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. As a result of its work, the DSTOPP initiative is contributing to Detroiters’ efforts to counter carceral and educational injustices. It is also contributing to the capacity-building and knowledge-sharing that generates equitable, empowering, and solution-oriented community-university research partnerships. 

DSTOPP Community-Based Action Research Teams

The four research-practice partnership teams conducting studies in affiliation with DSTOPP and the CREATE Center all include at least one youth researcher, one university researcher, and one community practitioner-researcher. Their studies include attention to a variety of aspects of the school-to-prison pipeline, including Black girls’ meaning-making and advocacy around socially just school policies and practices, a middle school’s implementation of a restorative justice policy, a community organization’s after school programming, and high school student leadership in district and school policy analysis and advocacy. While using various methodologies in their work, all RPP teams uphold tenets of community-based action research, including commitments to equitable, empowering, solution-oriented, and justice-focused research.

Community Resources

Community-based researchers focus on building relationships and honoring people’s humanity. Rather than treating human relations and community as additional contexts impacting research from the margins, people conducting CBR center human relations and community in their work. The CREATE Center team has assembled links to various web-based resources about doing the work of community-based research, including tools for designing studies, activities for team-building and working across differences, and activities for engaging equitable research analysis.

Academic Scholarship

The CREATE Center team has assembled various academic sources reporting their processes and findings on conducting community-based research, youth participatory action research, and research about the school-to-prison pipeline.

Engaging Youth in Research

What does it mean to involve youth as researchers? How do we make involvement equitable and empowering for youth, while respecting and upholding their right to be youth and their particular expertise and insights as youth?

Coordinating Team

Camille M. Wilson,

University of Michigan,

Principal Investigator

Jasahn Larsosa,

Focus: HOPE,

Co-Principal Investigator

Richard Smith,

Wayne State University,

Co-Principal Investigator

Paulina Fraser,

University of Michigan,

Research Coordinator

Welsby Headshot

Eric Welsby,

Focus: HOPE,

Community Coordinator