Wake Ed

Group wants fewer Wake County black students arrested, suspended

A local advocacy group is calling on the Wake County school system to do more to “dramatically decrease the high number of Black students who are arrested and suspended.”

The call to action from the Coalition of Concerned Citizens For African American Children comes as new reports were presented to the Wake County school board on Tuesday showing that black students are more likely to be suspended and arrested than other students.

Wake school officials said Tuesday that they’re taking steps such as reviewing discipline practices, expanding the use of options such as Teen Court and trying to see what matters can be handled by the schools and not referred to police.

But the CCCAAC says Wake needs to do more “so they will not push Black children into the juvenile and criminal justice system.”

The CCCAAC also quotes Lynn Perry, the parent of an Enloe High School student who was arrested in a 2013 water-balloon fight on campus. Perry says her son’s arrest “caused me financial hardship, emotional distress and left my son traumatized.”

CCCAAC was one of the groups who joined in filing a 2014 federal civil-rights complaint charging that the Wake school system and local law enforcement agencies “unnecessarily and unlawfully punish and criminalize minor misbehaviors” of students from minority groups.

Here is the press release the group sent Tuesday night:

A Response to the WCPSS Student & Suspension Data

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lachantal Warthaw-Ricketts

lwarthaw@aol.com

The Concerned Citizens for African American Children call on the Wake County Public School System Administration and the Board Of Education to immediately develop effective strategies that will dramatically decrease the high number of Black students who are arrested and suspended; both long and short term.

We are aware that the school board has initiated several restorative justice programs, such as the diversion program for students, as well as Teen Court. However, 73% of the Black students arrested during 2014-15 were referred to the criminal and juvenile court system by WCPSS.

We are seeking outside support from other school systems around the country who have experienced dramatic success in lowering the suspension and student arrest rates among Black students.

As community advocates, we call on our democratic school board to review/change their discipline policies and practices so they will not push Black children into the juvenile and criminal justice system.

We believe that WCPSS should develop parent and student advisory boards to help monitor the suspension, academic performance and student arrest data to decrease the number of students who are pushed into the school to prison pipeline.

Lastly, we are waiting to receive the release of additional data/statistics from WCPSS to include the following: In School Suspension and Retention Data.

Here is the press release the group sent Wednesday morning:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lachantal Warthaw-Ricketts

lwarthaw@aol.com

Statement Issued Lynn Perry,

The Concerned Citizens for African American Children call on the Wake County Public School System Administration and the Board Of Education to stop arresting and suspending black children. The board's discipline policies, practices and procedures continue to create barriers, and racial disparities that gravely impact the future of our black children and their families.

The suspension and student arrest data clearly show that the democratic school board and the school administration's ongoing practices continue to push our black children into the juvenile and criminal justice system.

Placing our children into the criminal justice system continue to have devastating consequences that negatively impact the education and economic factors for our black children and their families.

According to Ms. Lynn Perry, a single parent, “the arrest of my son caused me financial hardship, emotional distress and left my son traumatized.”

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