Clinton: U.S. must halt 'school-to-prison pipeline'

By Eugene Scott and Dan Merica, CNN | 2/16/2016, 3:17 p.m.
Hillary Clinton will propose a $2 billion plan to take on "overly punitive school discipline policies that disproportionately impact people ...
Hillary Clinton meets with multiple leaders of prominent civil rights organizations in Harlem on Tuesday in an effort to gather and shore up support from black voters. CNN photo

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton will propose a $2 billion plan to take on "overly punitive school discipline policies that disproportionately impact people of color" on Tuesday in New York, according to a campaign aide briefed on the plan.

The proposal -- aimed at stemming the "school-to-prison pipeline -- will cap off a day where the 2016 presidential candidate sought to rally support from African-American voters ahead of Nevada's caucuses on Saturday and South Carolina's primary later this month.

Clinton, according to an aide, will argue that while "that the vast majority of principals, administrators and teachers believe that such disciplinary practices do not help our children succeed," a lack of funds in America's public schools have "allowed a culture of zero-tolerance to take hold."

The plan will provide schools with the resources to hires "School Climate Support Teams," groups of professionals who will help school districts "develop and implement a comprehensive discipline reform plan."

Clinton will argue that punitive punishment in school disproportionately impact students of color and that her plan will make it possible for schools to start "sending African-American youths on to college, not rushing them into the criminal justice system."

Earlier on Tuesday, Clinton met with multiple leaders of prominent civil rights organizations in Harlem in an effort to gather and shore up support from black voters.

"The work that each and every one of your organizations do is in furtherance of civil rights and economic justice and social justice and political participation," she told the leaders.

"I am grateful for what you all have done for so many years," Clinton added.

While the former secretary of state has been leading opponent Bernie Sanders with black voters, the Vermont senator has attracted a number of endorsements from high-profile African-Americans.

Attendees at Clinton's meeting included National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial; National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President and CEO Cornell W. Brooks; National Action Network founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law President and Executive Director Kristen Clarke; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and CEO Wade Henderson; National Bar Association President Benjamin L. Crump; President and Director Council NAACP Legal defense and Education Fund Sherrilyn Ifill and National Council of Negro Women Chair Ingrid Saunders Jones.

Sanders met with Sharpton last week, though the reverend has not endorsed a candidate.

African-American voters made up 15% of the electorate in Nevada's caucuses in 2008 and with the race between Clinton and Sanders getting closer, the demographic could tip the balance.