A Real Crime

180: A Real Crime puts a human face on the issue of zero tolerance policies, and on the school-to-prison pipeline. It ends with a clear signal to the solutions available to us, if we reframe the way we think about issues of discipline and student support in U.S. schools.

The effects of the school-to-prison pipeline are undeniable, particularly on students of color and their families, as we see in the short film A Real Crime. As a middle schooler, Gloria was waiting in the lunch line when another student cut in front of her and picked a fight with her friends. Gloria was expelled, typecast, and harmed by the system that was supposed to be helping her grow.

The school-to-prison pipeline is real, and recognition of its existence has increased dramatically over the past several years, particularly as the  disproportionate effects of such policies on students of color are made clear. We invite you to watch and share this short film in order to help raise awareness about the human cost of these policies, and make viewers feel moved to demand something better for all young people.

Addressing the effects of harsh school discipline policies requires collective action. Reform is a responsibility we all share. The sense of individualism runs deep in the American psyche, so we must take care to help each other move away from thinking that school discipline is a matter of concern only for children and their families. It impacts us all.

180: A Real Crime is a 180 Studio production co-directed by Rob English and Sam Chaltain.


  • Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook
    With support from Open Society Foundations Racial Equality Fund, the FrameWorks Institute provides advocates with 12 evidence-based framing strategies to effectively talk about alternative approaches to school discipline, such as restorative justice and trauma-informed schools.
  • Talking Juvenile Justice Reform
    This FrameWorks MessageMemo explains reframing strategies that have been tested to advance juvenile justice policies, allowing advocates for adolescents and criminal justice reformers to pivot from these issues to juvenile justice reforms.
  • Understanding the Federal Role in Protecting Student Civil Rights from Learning Policy Institute

  • Toolkit on the Federal Commission on School Safety from Communities for Just Schools Fund (December 2018)

  • From Failure to Freedom
    A report published by Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) and Center for Popular Democracy reveals that Milwaukee Public Schools’ (MPS) reliance on punitive approaches to school discipline is ineffective, costly, and, most troublingly, racially biased.

Tweet it: Meet Gloria, a young person impacted by zero tolerance policies in her school district. And watch (& share) this short film to learn how Gloria would re-imagine her school’s disciplinary practices. #FutureforLearning #JustSchools https://futureforlearning.org/a-real-crime

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