Project Description


Aaliyah was incarcerated when she was just a kid. When she got out, she just wanted to be a normal kid in high school. Make friends, be popular – but it took applying to a few schools to even get in one, and when she did have a fresh start, people would find out about her past.

When you’re labeled “the bad kid,” it’s hard to be anything else. Teachers would single her out for things the other kids were doing, students would mess with her just to see how she’d react – instead of seeing the funny kid with good grades, people would just see the girl who went to jail.

Aaliyah is now a teacher herself, working with behavioral students teaching them better ways to express themselves. For kids in difficult situations, she’s giving them a safe space to be who they are and get the support she wished she had.

 “I feel like when they find out you have a record or you’ve been incarcerated they think… it’s a switch, like it’s an act, and right after if something goes wrong you’ll be back to how you were.

When you get that experience it’s kind of hard to stay on the straight path, you want to revert to those ways. It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Watch Aaliyah’s Full Interview: