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Durham, NC – The Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice is partnering with People’s Alliance to host a virtual town hall meeting on the school-to-prison pipeline in Durham Public Schools (DPS) on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m.
The school-to-prison pipeline is the system of policies and practices that push students, especially students of color, out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal systems. During the 2018-19 school year, black students comprised only 44% of enrollment in DPS but represented over 76.4% of short-term suspensions and 86% of all school-related entries into the criminal justice system.
Through the Youth Justice Project, eight high school students in DPS developed a policy platform, #LiberateToEducate, to end the school-to-prison pipeline. #LiberateToEducate comprises five demands to end discriminatory practices and improve student social and emotional behavioral functioning. This platform is one of the many issues to be discussed throughout the virtual town hall.
The collaborative event will feature a panel of community organizers, school board members, educational professionals and students to have an open and honest discussion on issues impacting the education and mental health of students in DPS, especially students of color. The town hall panel includes:
- AJ Williams, Community Organizer of Durham Beyond Policing
- Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock, Executive Director of we are
- Alexandra Valladares, Member of the Durham County Board of Education
- Turquoise LeJeune Parker, DPS Elementary Teacher and Vice President of the Durham Association of Educators
Throughout the town hall, attendees will get the opportunity to learn more about the Youth Justice Project and People’s Alliance strategies for action that address, raise awareness and affect change.
“The Youth Steering Committee students have taken charge of leading the Youth Justice Project’s efforts. The students are not only aware of the harmful nature of the school-to-prison pipeline, but they have also educated themselves on proven solutions, highlighted in their policy platform,” said Marcus Pollard, Counsel for Justice System Reform with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The People’s Alliance has been and will be instrumental in broadening the student’s base, voice and support as they move toward a more liberated school environment. Our collaboration with the People’s Alliance for the upcoming town hall will hopefully be the first of many collaborations between our students and their organizers.”
To register and submit a question, click here: bit.ly/STPPTownHall.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow their work on Twitter and Facebook.
People’s Alliance (PA) is a grassroots organization that has been advancing a progressive vision for Durham and our state for more than 40 years. We believe a community can be more than a place where people live – it can be a place where all people live well. We work to elect progressive people to office and hold them accountable 365 days a year. Learn more at durhampa.org and follow their work on Twitter and Facebook.