Group renews push for peer-based conflict resolution vs. traditional discipline in schools

June 26, 2017. The Lawrence Journal-World.

Renewing their earlier calls for transparency and accountability, members of Justice Matters are again urging the school board to consider implementing restorative justice in Lawrence schools.

Gary Schmidt, co-chair of the group’s racial justice steering committee, used Monday’s school board meeting to re-engage the board in a conversation that board president Marcel Harmon said began last spring surrounding racial justice. Restorative justice hinges on empowering students to resolve conflicts on their own through peer-mediated small groups, as opposed to more traditional disciplinary methods.

Charleston needs a qualified, independent police audit

June 18, 2017. The Post and Courier.

What should Charleston do about citizens’ repeated allegations of racial bias by police? Mayor Tecklenburg seemed untroubled by such reports in his May 30th Post & Courier column celebrating the city’s “racial progress.” He praised the police chief for leading the Illumination Project since 2015, a period of “remarkable forward motion for our police department and the community it serves.” He also noted that “an independent, third party bias-based policing audit” had just begun.

Charleston City Council could heed justice ministry’s call to hire new firm to audit police department

May 24, 2017. The Post and Courier.

Members of the Charleston Area Justice Ministry dominated the public comment period at the Charleston City Council meeting Tuesday, as they had during the previous three meetings, to repeat that the city hadn’t hired the right firm to identify racial biases in the Charleston Police Department.

More kids in trouble will be eligible for second chances under new civil citation policy

May 10, 2017. Florida Times-Union.

Wednesday afternoon marked a “historic” time for juvenile justice in Northeast Florida as State Attorney Melissa Nelson fulfilled a campaign promise long-awaited by reform-minded advocates.

The use of civil citations, an alternative to arrest for juvenile misdemeanor offenders, is expected to expand in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, as the leaders of 22 agencies, including law enforcement, child services and the judicial system, signed on to an agreement for new rules.

Knox County education leaders tackle race, gender and suicide in wide ranging meeting

May 4, 2017. WBIR.

Teen suicide, racial disparities and transgender bathrooms — all these topics were taken up Wednesday night by Knox County education leaders at the school board meeting.

Superintendent Bob Thomas addressed the deaths this year of three Farragut High students at the beginning of the meeting.