By David Sawicki
DETROIT MARCH 18, 2013 – Detroit Public Schools suspended 25,534 students in 2011-2012 out of 70,000 (Detroit ACLU).YOUTH VOICE, an organization of Detroit youth who build their own power to create change, is marching to reduce that number and break the “School to Prison Pipeline,” the name given to the systemic lack of options for urban youth that funnels students directly from the school system to the juvenile and criminal justice system.
YOUTH VOICE views the number of suspensions as a direct result of Detroit Public Schools outdated Zero Tolerance Policies, and are pressuring Roy Roberts, DPS Emergency Financial Manager, and other leaders in education to implement the State Board of Education’s revised zero tolerance policy by 2013-2014 school year. The new policy will create alternatives to suspension that aren’t gun related.
YOUTH VOICE is also seeking Juvenile Justice Center funding for restorative practices in DPS, EAA and charter schools. The funding would allow for restorative circles (discussion and problem solving groups), in school suspensions (that allow students to continue with classwork) and therapist referral (for students dealing with mental health, family or personal
issues). YOUTH VOICE will be looking to Maura Corrigan, Director of Michigan Department of Human Services.
At a time when Michigan spends $40,000 per year on inmates and just $8,000 on each student (Detroit ACLU) and 68 percent of males in state and federal prison are without a high school diplomas (The Community Coalition), YOUTH VOICE is demanding the system starts working for Detroit youth, not against them.
Who: YOUTH VOICE and allies.
What: “Detroit YOUTH Takeover,” a march to break the “School to Prison Pipeline”
Where: Cass Park (2nd Ave and Temple, Detroit) to Wayne County Jail and Second Baptist Church (441 Monroe)
When: Sat. March 23, 2013 1:00pm – 1:30pm meet up / 1:30pm – 2:15pm march / 2:45pm – 3:30pm agenda at Second Baptist Church.
Why: To make a stand against the systemic lack of options for urban youth that funnels students directly from the public school system to the juvenile and criminal justice systems. To reduce the high number of suspensions in Detroit schools and encourage the system to use alternatives to suspension.