Please reload

Watch the Trailer


People call them "Dropouts." They tell a different story.
Counseling • Education • Criminal Justice • Social Work
Adolescent Development • Latinx Studies • Sociology
2018. Director Katie Galloway. Co-Director Dawn Valadez. Producers Katie Galloway, Dawn Valadez and Daniella Brower Sueuga.
56 Minutes. Transcript Available.

"I was in prison before I was even born.” So begins the story of Victor Rios - a high school dropout, gang member, and three time felon by 15. But when a teacher’s quiet persistence, a mentor’s moral conviction, and his best friend’s murder converge, Rios’ path takes an unlikely turn. Two decades later Rios - by then a 36 year-old tenured UC professor, author and national thought leader on the school-to-prison pipeline - gets a call. “Hey Hotshot.” It’s Martín Flores, Rios’ high school mentor, who he hasn’t heard from in 15 years. “I know you’re busy, but I need you to come down to Watts this summer and work with my kids.” Its a make it or break it moment for these youth, Flores - who directs a program serving 16 to 24 olds who haven’t finished high school - warns. “We get them on the right path now, or we lose them to the system.” Woven with archival material stretching back 25 years to Rios’ own troubled adolescence and including the contemporary story of this fateful summer in Watts, THE PUSHOUTS examines crucial questions of race, class, power, and the American dream at a particularly urgent time.

Best Documentary

Special Jury Award Best Female Directors

Public Good Grant Awardee

Best Documentary Feature, Honorable Mention

Please reload

Please reload

Reviews & Quotes

K. Fennessy

"As Flores puts it, 'education is a way up and a way out.' An inspiring film, this is recommended."

Santa Rosa Junior College

Rhonda Findling, Second Chance Program Counselor/Coordinator

"I would highly recommend The Pushouts for educators at all levels, especially those that care about students from disenfranchised underserved communities. It also features the voice of Victor Rios, who has a remarkable story of coming from a gang neighborhood and gang life, to being inspired by a high school teacher to turn his life around.  With that support, he pursued a PhD and is now a professor at UC Santa Barbara. This film is also incredibly inspiring for underrepresented youth who are marginalized and funneled into the prison pipeline."

“We are so pleased about this wonderful recognition of a very powerful story that explores the complex trajectory of Latino and African American youth who are struggling to prepare for life after high school. We recognize THE PUSHOUTS is the kind of film that public media stations can use to build partnerships at the local level and spark a national dialogue on the future of America’s youth.” 

Please reload