School suspensions tied to increase in assaults, theft, drug crimes, Kentucky researchers say

July 18, 2019. Lexington Herald Leader.

Two researchers from Kentucky have co-authored a new study that shows that school suspensions increased criminal behaviors among teens that include assault, stealing, and selling drugs.

The study, by former Elizabethtown resident Thomas James Mowen, now a researcher at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University and John J. Brent, an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University, was published July 12 in Justice Quarterly, a publication of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. It has received national media attention this week.

“The effect of school discipline aren’t as short-lived as some people think,” Brent told the Herald-Leader Wednesday. “It can create a ripple effect that impacts youth as they move into and enter adulthood.”

Interfaith group pushes Fayette to address higher rates of suspensions for black students

May 24, 2019. Lexington Herald-Leader.

A “high number of suspensions and racial disparities” in Fayette County Public Schools is motivating Belinda Snead to implore school board members to make changes.

Snead said that she is not only speaking as a member of an interfaith organization but as a grandmother of students in Fayette County schools who have been suspended.

“I’m very concerned about the high number of suspensions and racial disparities,” Snead told school board members at their May 20 meeting. “My grandchildren have been suspended three times as have other families represented by the BUILD organization and we know that kids do better when they stay in school.

Dozens of churches come together for ‘Action Assembly’ on issues facing Lexington

May 7, 2019. WKYT.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – More than 2,000 people met in downtown Lexington as part of B.U.I.L.D.’S 2019 ‘Nehemiah Action Assembly’. B.U.I.L.D. stands for ‘Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct action’. The group is made up of 26 different congregations.

A goal of their annual meeting is to urge leaders to take action on several issues they say they are seeing in their community.

The topics discussed include drug addiction, the rates of students suspended in Fayette County Public Schools, and violent crimes.

Does Lexington have a gang problem? New study plans to find out.

November 13, 2018. Lexington Herald Leader.

The city of Lexington took its first step Tuesday toward hiring a group from New York to analyze crime data for the past five years to determine if Lexington has a problem with crimes committed by groups and gangs.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voting unanimously during a Tuesday work session to approve a $35,000 contract with John Jay College for Criminal Justice’s National Network for Safe Communities. A final vote is expected in December.

An interfaith coalition of leaders has pressed Mayor Jim Gray, police and other city leaders for four years to implement the National Network for Safe Communities model, which uses direct intervention methods in neighborhoods to address group crime activity.

Should Lexington B.U.I.L.D. a better needle exchange? ‘Yes,’ say 2,000 people in 26 congregations.

May 16, 2018. Lexington Herald Leader.

Only about 11 percent of the Americans who needed specialized treatment for a substance abuse disorder in 2016 received it, which tells us that B.U.I.L.D. has again zeroed in on an urgent need: How to expand access to treatment in Lexington.

Alarmed by a doubling in fatal overdoses in Lexington in three years, the coalition of 26 religious congregations is seeking an expansion of Lexington’s needle-exchange program as a way to stem the spread of blood-borne diseases, steer more people into treatment and save money on health-care costs.