Lee County NAACP's Year of Racial Equity a Success

Youth Justice Project

Fort Myers, F.L. — The School District of Lee County and the Lee County, Florida Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) signed an agreement today to settle a civil rights complaint the NAACP filed in 2017.

“I am extremely pleased to have signed this agreement,” said Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins. “The District is committed to every student reaching their potential.  We have worked hard to demonstrate our commitment to diversity, fair discipline and educational success.  It has been a truly positive experience to work with the NAACP on this agreement and we look forward to seeing our students succeed.”

The agreement calls on the District to continue six current practices:

  • Fund the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Use restorative practices and alternatives to suspension
  • Provide ongoing training about structural racism, implicit bias and disparities
  • Review student disciplinary processes and gather community input
  • Allocate resources in a manner that allows schools that are in the most need to receive additional funding
  • Data already collected on referrals for discipline, referrals to law enforcement and expulsions will now be shared with other schools

The agreement calls on the District to add to new practices:

  • Convey quarterly community forums and public conversations
  • Provide training on the appropriate use and engagement of School Resource Officers

In return for continuing or adopting these practices the NAACP will drop the civil rights complaint filed with the US Department of Education in September 2017.  The complaint alleged black students were disciplined disproportionately to white students and disproportionately held back, dropping out or not graduating.

“Today’s agreement is not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter,” said James Muwakkil, President of the Lee County NAACP. “We believe the steps outlined in this resolution will set a much needed foundation as we build towards racial equity in our schools. There is much work to be done. We are pleased now to have the school system as an ally in the effort to make sure students of color do not get left behind.”

Information about the community forums required under the agreement will be released as those quarterly events are scheduled.  Protocols and training for staff use of the SRO will also now be developed and implemented.  The practices already in place will continue to be used and updated as necessary.

To find a signed copy of the agreement, click here.