Today, November 5, 2013, the School Board of Broward County, Florida, approved a historic new Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline in an effort to close the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline. Following School Board approval, a ceremonial signing of the agreement took place with community partners.
Among the representatives signing the agreement: School Board Chair Laurie Rich Levinson, Superintendent Robert W. Runcie, Fort Lauderdale/Broward NAACP President and Juvenile Justice Advisory Board Chair Marsha Ellison, NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze, Chief Judge of the 17th
Judicial Circuit Honorable Peter M. Weinstein, Broward State Attorney Michael J. Satz, Chief Assistant Public Defender of Broward County Gordon Weeks, City of Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Bobby DuBose (District 3), Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Acting Fort Lauderdale Chief of Police Russell H. Hanstein, and Department of Juvenile Justice Assistant Secretary of Probation & Community Intervention Joan Wimmer.
National NAACP leaders, Advancement Project representatives, Judge of the 17th
Judicial Circuit Honorable Elijah Williams, Florida State Representative Perry Thurston and Florida State Representative Gwyndolen Clark-Reed also participated in the ceremony.
The Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline establishes new guidelines and processes for handling non-violent misdemeanor offenses on school campuses to eliminate the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline. It outlines for school personnel when it is necessary to involve law enforcement and when non-violent offenses can be handled through school resources and programs, such as the new PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support and Education) program.
The PROMISE program is a Broward County initiative designed to address the needs of students who commit non-violent infractions that previously could have resulted in the student being arrested and entering the juvenile justice system. The program emphasizes intervention and prevention. Through the PROMISE program, students receive behavioral supports, counseling and mentoring in an environment focused on helping them make better life choices.
“We need to take a common sense approach to school discipline. Far too many students are being arrested on our campuses for non-violent misdemeanor offenses,” said Superintendent Runcie. “By embracing this collaborative agreement, we have the ability to positively impact students’ lives, increase academic achievement and student engagement, while also maintaining safe learning environments for our students. I commend all of our community partners for their roles in making this Collaborative Agreement a reality.”
To view a video of the Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline signing, visit:
To learn more about Broward County’s PROMISE program, visit: http://www.browardprevention.org/about-opp/promise/
Additional information on national efforts to end the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline is available through the Advancement Project, please visit http://www.advancementproject.org/content/home
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States, the second largest in the state of Florida and the largest fully accredited K-12 and adult school district in the nation. BCPS has over 260,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 229 schools and education centers and 95 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 204 different countries and speak 130 different languages. For more information about BCPS, visit (browardschools.com), follow us on Twitter (@Browardschools) and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/browardschools).