Parents push Pinellas Schools to speed up ‘restorative practices’

November 12, 2019. WTSP.COM

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A grassroots group of concerned parents, grandparents and career educators stood in support of one another at Tuesday’s Pinellas County School Board meeting. Each of them are members of F.A.S.T. (Faith and Action for Strength Together) and came to voice concerns over the school district’s implementation of, what is known as, “restorative practices.”

It’s the social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals and social connections within communities, according to the International Institute for Restorative Practices.

The IIRP says, in schools that fully implement restorative practices, student arrest and suspension — and overall racial disparities in discipline — go down. Restorative practices are also said to increase a feeling of safety among teachers and reduce teacher turnover.

Charleston Area Justice Ministry continues push for audit of N. Charleston police department

May 28, 2019. WCSC.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The Charleston Area Justice Ministry (CAJM) is calling for an audit of the North Charleston Police Department in a citizen’s advisory commission meeting on Tuesday.

The North Charleston Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Community-Police Relations will meet at 6:30 p.m. at North Charleston City Hall.

The Charleston Area Justice Ministry says they called for an audit of both the Charleston and North Charleston Police Departments a few years ago.

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.

Charleston residents open up to racial bias researchers about police encounters

April 2, 2019. Charleston City Paper.

Ann Powell-Cromwell was turning to head home on James Island when an officer stopped her. Her tag lights were out, he said, and he couldn’t see her license plate.

“I felt that he shouldn’t have stopped me because I had my signal on way ahead of time,” Powell-Cromwell said in a classroom at St. James Presbyterian Church on James Island, where close to 70 attendees were separated into small groups to talk about their interactions with Charleston police officers. “It’s a bad area, and I assume he probably thought I was one of them ones that was gonna buy some drugs.”

Firm seeks community’s input for racial bias in Charleston Police Department

February 7, 2019. The Post and Courier.

Inside a meeting hall at Ebenezer AME Church on Charleston’s East Side Thursday night, Fouche Sheppard shared a story of how she was pulled over by a police officer she believed had profiled her.

The officer told her he thought she was an African American male before letting her go, she said.

Sheppard’s story was one of a handful shared during the first town hall meeting held as part of an eight-month, $158,556 racial bias audit of the Charleston Police Department by the Virginia-based firm CNA. Although small in attendance, a number of residents from the East Side neighborhood shared personal stories, suggestions on ways to increase community collaboration with police and asked questions about how a police department that seems to have drifted away from true, community-level policing can begin to right the course.