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Duval School Board Works To End School-To-Prison Pipeline

Changes are in the works to reduce the disproportionate number of suspensions and arrests of African American students in Duval County.

According to the data presented at a school board workshop this afternoon, of the 229-students arrested during school hours last year, 32 were white while 196 were black.

School board member Paula Wright says funneling African American youth straight from the classroom into the juvenile justice system is what’s known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

It’s a cultural issue, she says, that will require a cross-cultural effort to resolve.

"The problem is, how do we help the entire community understand each other and understand that this is an opportunity that when a child missteps in whatever way, it’s an opportunity for us as adults to provide that strategy, that process, that procedure, but also we have to bring in the parents because they have an awesome responsibility.”

Wright says she’d like to see a series of community meetings to help educate parents about the school system’s code of student conduct.

As for school suspensions, of the 66,401 students affected last year, just 12,669 of them were white.