NAACP Brokers Groundbreaking Agreement to Close School to Prison Pipeline in Broward CountyNovember 05, 2013
(Fort Lauderdale, Fl.) -- The NAACP has brokered a groundbreaking collaborative agreement on school discipline with Broward County Public Schools, law enforcement and its community partners. The agreement will serve as a model for school districts nationwide that aim to end the school to prison pipeline wreaking havoc in communities of color.
The collaborative agreement establishes proven alternatives to arrest for misdemeanor infractions by students that include common sense approaches such as counseling and mentorship. The historic agreement leverages the support of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) and local law enforcement by reducing student suspensions, expulsions and arrests, while maintaining safe learning environments for students.
“We have worked tirelessly for eight years to close the school to prison pipeline in Broward County,” said Marsha Ellison, president of the NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Chapter. “Today’s groundbreaking agreement to end the school to prison pipeline will save Broward County children from the type of disciplinary action that thwarts their professional growth and development by preventing them from getting a job, going to college, joining the military or becoming the successful adults they deserve to be. Children should be educated, not incarcerated.”
The agreement highlights the role of school officials in determining when student infractions warrant an arrest versus school disciplinary measures, particularly for minor misbehavior/offenses. The collaborative agreement is part of the national movement to end the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline.
From Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors:
"This comprehensive agreement changes the future of education in Broward County and sets the stage for a revolution nationwide," stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors and a Florida native. "I commend our Florida leaders for bringing all of the parties together to shutdown the school to prison pipeline."
From Adora Obi Nweze, President of the NAACP Florida State Conference:
"We now have the foundation to save a generation of youth of color from the criminal justice system," stated Adora Obi Nweze, President of the NAACP Florida State Conference. "This would not be possible without the leadership of our Ft Lauderdale/ Broward Branch."
From Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Sr. VP of Policy and Advocacy:
“I applaud the efforts of NAACP Broward County President Marsha Ellison, School Superintendent Robert Runcie, Broward County law enforcement and all of the community partners involved in this effort for taking a stand against overly severe disciplinary policies the criminalize students for behavioral issues normally addressed by a school administrator,” said Hilary Shelton, Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Policy & Advocacy for the NAACP. “Arrests do not make schools safer. This agreement to embrace alternatives to police intervention will be the prototype for ending the school to prison pipeline in every Florida school district and school districts across the nation.”
From Kim Keenan, NAACP General Council:
This critical agreement takes a significant step toward closing the school-to-prison pipeline in Florida and across the country,” said Kim Keenan, NAACP General Counsel. “Minor misconduct should not be used as an excuse to take children from the schools to the courts."
From Leon Russell, Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors:
“This groundbreaking collaborative agreement comes at a critical moment in our nation’s history when incarceration rates among minority populations have reached unprecedented proportions,” said Leon Russell, Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. “Students shouldn’t be arrested and handcuffed for talking back in class. I commend the efforts of all of the partners involved in the collaborative agreement for ensuring that we close the dangerous and irresponsible school to prison pipeline.”
From Alice Huffman, Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee for the NAACP National Board of Directors:
We have a moral obligation to educate and empower our students, not arrest them and create obstacles to achievement,” stated Alice Huffman, Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee for the NAACP National Board of Directors. “Unfortunately, our nation has failed to live up to that obligation, permitting our student to be streamlined into the criminal justice system for minor misconduct that used to be the handled by school principals.
From Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Criminal Justice Director for the NAACP:
“Too often, too many children in this country unnecessarily lose learning time and, too often, get criminalized for routine adolescent misbehavior,” said Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Criminal Justice Director for the NAACP. “Today’s groundbreaking collaborative agreement will go a long way in putting a stop to the destructive pipeline that funnels children from school into prison and alters the trajectory of their lives forever. The NAACP hopes law enforcement and educators nationwide will work with their communities to adopt similar measures.”
From Evans Moore, Interim Education Director for the NAACP:
“Broward County Public Schools should be hailed as a leader for ending its zero tolerance disciplinary policy that has become too common over the past two decades in school districts across the country,” said Evans Moore, Interim Education Director for the NAACP. “Those policies have failed to improve the disciplinary climate and culture of schools. Today’s historic collaborative agreement sends a message to school districts across the country that Broward County Public Schools want to see its students, particularly those of color, thrive.”
From Kevin Myles, Southeast Regional Director for the NAACP:
“The NAACP, Broward Country Public Schools and all of the community partners involved in this groundbreaking agreement have taken important steps to end the overly harsh school disciplinary policies that lands students in the criminal justice system, said Kevin Myles, Southeast Regional Director for the NAACP. “Starting today, Broward County students will achieve higher heights as we close the school to prison pipeline.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.