Collaborative that keeps students in school and out of court receives district award
From Sandra Bernard-Bastien
LAUDERHILL, FL – In 2011, more students were arrested on Broward County school campuses than in any other Florida school district, many for misdemeanors like possessing marijuana or spraying graffiti. In response, Broward County Public Schools partnered with local organizations and agencies like the Fort Lauderdale NAACP and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC), as well as law enforcement, the 17th Judicial Circuit Court and others to establish the Elimination of the Schoolhouse to Jail-house Pipeline Collaborative.
At the recent Community Involvement Awards hosted by Broward Schools, the Collaborative received the District Level Outstanding Partnership of the Year, recognizing successes such as the Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline and development of the PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support and Education) Program. More than 300 people attended the ceremony that highlighted participation from community volunteers, mentors, parents and business partners.
“One of my top priorities has been to find an effective way to keep our youth, especially our Black males, out of the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipe-line,” said Robin Bartleman, School Board member and Chair of the CSC. “Through the efforts of many child advocates, community leaders and committed professionals, we have changed the trajectory of our students’ lives.”
The work of the Collaborative is aimed at limiting the number of students who are funneled out of the school system into the court system for non-violent misdemeanors. By giving students a second chance through counseling, mentoring, and other support, these efforts are showing positive results:
• A 58 percent reduction in overall arrests during the first semester this school year compared to the first semester of the 2012-13 school year.
• Of more than 1,300 students who have participated in PROMISE, only 100 have repeated the program.
The Children’s Services Council of Broward is an independent taxing authority which was established by a public referendum on Sept. 5, 2000, which, through Public Act, Chapter 2000-461 of the laws of Florida, authorized the Council to levy up to 0.5 mills of property taxes. The role of the Council is to provide the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.
Follow us on Twitter at @CSCBroward and on Facebook. For more information about the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, visit www.cscbroward.org