Broward County Public Schools Make Big Changes to Eliminate Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track

Join us for a webinar on November 19 at 2 pm to learn more.

As previously discussed, the state of Florida has been dealing with a rampant School-to-Prison Pipeline for almost a decade now. In 2005, we saw images of police handcuffing 5 year-old Ja’eisha Scott for throwing a tantrum. That school year alone, there were more than 29,000 school-related arrests.  Eight years later, Florida is still battling this epidemic and it continues to disproportionately impact students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ youth. During the 2011-12 school year, Broward had the highest total number of school-based arrests in the state.

But on Nov. 5, 2013, Broward took a huge step forward by enacting sweeping reforms. After reforming their Code of Student Conduct earlier this year and initiating their innovative PROMISE intervention program, stakeholders have signed a groundbreaking Collaborative School Discipline Agreement. Inspired by the work in Clayton County, GA, Denver and other hot spots in the movement, these reforms are set to become a model for other districts in Florida and across the nation.

After years of advocacy on this issue, the NAACP Florida State Conference and the Ft. Lauderdale/Broward NAACP, led by President Marsha Ellison, have found support in Broward County Public Schools’ first Black Superintendent, Robert W. Runcie, Juvenile Court Judge Elijah Williams, School Board Member Robin Bartleman and leaders from the Public Defender’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, Broward County Sherriff and Ft. Lauderdale Police, among others. During the 2010-2011 school year, Broward County Public Schools had the highest total number of school-based arrests in the state, 71% of which were for misdemeanor offenses. In light of this disturbing trend, parents, teachers, elected officials and other community leaders joined these stakeholders as the Eliminating the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse committee to create a groundbreaking model to keep students in school and out of the criminal justice system.

These victories would never have been possible without the determined, community driven advocacy of the NAACP Florida State Conference and the Ft. Lauderdale/Broward NAACP. Advancement Project is incredibly proud to have worked with them throughout this process and to stand with our partners as youth in Broward return to classrooms that have a renewed commitment to common sense school discipline.

If you would like to know more, join us for a webinar on November 19 at 2 pm to learn more about Broward’s School Discipline Agreement and learn how you can implement tailored changes in your hometown. You can sign up HERE.