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“We’re Connected Because We’re Connected”: Counseling and Organizing in a Shared Struggle for Abolition in Schools

Sun, April 14, 11:25am to 12:55pm, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Floor: Level 200, Exhibit Hall B


Calls for “Counselors, Not Cops” conceal a more insidious form of carcerality: soft policing. In schools, school counselors frequently engage in soft policing through the operationalization of carceral logic embedded in the ASCA National Model, often weaponized against youth experiencing the most social precarity. This paper describes a year-long Critical Participatory Action Research project that brought together those in school counseling and community organizing to uproot carcerality and center students’ “heartwholeness,” or belonging and safety in even deeply oppressive spaces (hooks, 2019), within and beyond our professional practice. We offer five interrelated, contextualized processes of radical world-building for abolitionist counselor educators and counselors in schools to co-create real safety with students, and experiment and build with movements for abolition.