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Articles tagged with: School Safety

Don’t Arm Teachers; Arm Communities with Prevention Supports

Rachel Marshall Monday, 05 March 2018 Posted in 2018, Across the Country

By Rachell Marshall, Federal Policy Counsel

One week after a gunman took the lives of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida, students across the country stood in solidarity with students from MSD and walked out of their classes to demand action on gun control.

Students Say NO to Police in Schools

Tuesday, 05 March 2013 Posted in 2013, Take Action Now

By Leah Robertson

The Youth Justice Coalition says no to armed police in schools. A coalition of students visited Washington, D.C. yesterday to stage a rally and march from Congress to the White House to demand “Counselors, not Cops.”

 

Students stand in front of Congress

to say NO to cops in Schools

Following the tragedy at Newtown, Congress has been considering legislation and funding to put more cops in schools. However, these students vocalized how they have already seen that police presence in schools does not create the positive learning environments students need to promote a positive learning environment. On the contrary, police presence in schools leads to more suspensions and expulsions, which research shows funnel more kids to the juvenile justice system, and sometimes takes them directly to the adult criminal justice system.

It was so inspiring to see these young people coming together to take a stand for their right to education and safety. Several teenagers spoke out about their personal experiences with police officers in schools. They consistently emphasized the physical and emotional scars of misplaced investments: funding police officers instead of teachers, counselors, and evidence-based programs.

Counselors, Not Cops.

Counsel, Don't Cuff.

One young man spoke about the life-changing impact one counselor had on him. This counselor helped him change from a confused and angry teenager to a motivated student. If this one counselor taking a personal interest in him could have such an impact, imagine what our youth could do if we increased the ratio of counselors to students from 500:1 to 100:1 or even 50:1, rather than investing in more police who are likely to criminalize our students at a fragile and critical identity-building stage in their lives. Imagine what we could do with all the money saved by keeping youth out of the pipeline to prison and on the course to college and careers.

For more information on the Youth Justice Coalition Rally, click here.

For press clips, click here.

Congress Convenes Experts to Respond to Newtown

Monday, 28 January 2013 Posted in 2013, Federal Update

By Leah Robertson

In the wake of the tragedy at Newtown, Congress has held a series of convenings to hear from experts on gun violence prevention, mental health, and youth violence prevention. Despite the array of topics discussed, one common theme has emerged: in order to decrease violence, we need to invest real resources in youth engagement and community development, and we must get rid of harmful zero tolerance policies funneling kids down harmful paths.


On Tuesday, January 22, Representative Bobby Scott hosted the Youth Violence Prevention Summit. Panelists Dr. Dewey Cornell, Dr. Peter Scharf, Chief Judge Chandlee Kuhn, Dr. Aaron Kupchik, Sheriff Gabe Morgan, Rashad Burns, and Brian Bumbarger spoke about the importance of focusing on communities to provide places where youth can feel safe, comfortable, and connected to adults who can help them stay on a positive track.  Of note, they focused on the need to pass the Youth Promise Act, a cost-effective, prevention-based, and most importantly, effective program.


 

Video of Representative Scott's Introduction 
to the Youth Violence Prevention Summit


Panelists detailed programs and pathways to reducing violence in communities and strongly reinforced the importance of diminishing school pathways to the juvenile and criminal justice system. Recognizing that school safety must be our highest priority, it is essential that every possible effort is made to ensure our kids are safe. However, as stated directly by Dr. Kupchik, we must think critically about the effects of policies we implement and do what works, not what feels right. We are too quick to listen to our gut, saying “More cops in schools can’t hurt.” But the data shows that it can, and it has. There is substantial evidence that cops and school resource officers (SRO) in schools increase delinquent behavior and decreases educational achievement by changing the school atmosphere from one that inspires pathways to success to one that expects, and unknowingly encourages, violence and failure from the kids.

Furthermore, we have an alternative. We know that prevention-based programs work. Mr. Bumbarger detailed a strong community-based initiative in Pennsylvania - based on the "Blueprints for Violence Prevention" initiatives in Colorado - that effectively decreased juvenile crime, increased educational achievement and consequently resulted in the closure of a 100-bed juvenile correctional facility.

Immediately following the Youth Violence Prevention Summit, Representatives Mike Thompson and Napolitano co- hosted a briefing on Mental Health in America. Panelists emphasized that, despite the widespread effect of mental disorders and the numerous warning signs, society too often stigmatizes mental health issues, leaving people suffering and, on rare occasions, at risk of violent behavior. They emphasized that if society focused on a preventative model, teaching parents and teachers to notice patterns of behavior that indicate mental disease (which usually appear between the ages of 14 and 24 but usually go untreated for almost a decade) without stigmatizing kids, we could save countless people – both those directly affected and those affected by their actions while unmedicated - from the pain associated with untreated mental disease.

Panelists (from left): Gaspar Perricone, James Cummings, 
Dr. Robert Ross, Jeannie Campbell, 
Marc LeForestier, and David Chipman 

Finally, on Wednesday, January 24, Congressman Thompson held a Gun Violence Prevention Summit with 20 Members of the House. Witnesses included: Gaspar Perricone, president of the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance; David Chipman, former special agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Jeannie Campbell, executive vice president of the National Council for Behavioral Health; Marc LeForestier, deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice; Dr. Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment; and James Cummings, hunter, sportsman, gun owner and NRA member.

Dr. Robert Ross with Chief Counsel Bobby Vassar

Despite their diversity of backgrounds and beliefs, each panelist agreed: more guns and more law enforcement in schools is NOT the answer. Mr. Cummings, a sportsman, gun owner and NRA member, stated outright, “The worst thing I can see is my 2nd or 3rd grade teacher carrying a gun.” Instead of arming schools, Dr. Ross emphasized the need for community investment, showing a video of 33 kids demanding, “Don’t lock down our schools” and asking for a plan that involves comprehensive health services and gets rid of zero tolerance policies that only make our schools more dangerous. The conclusion is obvious. Law enforcement, especially SROs, in schools are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. Community-based programs save money, protect communities, and lead to a safe and productive society. The universal heartbreak after Newtown is just another example that every community is our community, and every child is our child. We need to do what is right for them, not what feels right. There is no other solution

For more information on keeping our communities safe, visit: http://www.promotesafecommunities.org

 

New Web Resource to “Promote Safe Communities”

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 Posted in 2013, Across the Country


The National Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is pleased to announce a new web resource “Promote Safe Communities” available at: http://www.promotesafecommunities.org/.  The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is a collaborative array of youth- and family- serving, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations, working to ensure healthy families, build strong communities and improve public safety by promoting fair and effective policies, practices and programs for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

The website features:


Please post a link to your website in the comments field, and check the website often for action alerts, news updates, and upcoming meeting notices to stay involved with the work of the NJJDPC!

We appreciate your sharing this new resource with your networks!