Clark County School Justice Partnership

01 Aug CCSD, key community members announce plan to provide more supports and interventions to increase safety, keep students in class

The Clark County School District is entering into a new partnership with community members that have two major goals: to increase safety for students and employees, and to keep students in class.

The Clark County School Justice Partnership, announced by the Board of Trustees, Superintendent Jesus F. Jara and other community leaders last week, will provide significant supports to students with behavior problems and staff to reduce the number of students suspended, expelled and referred to the juvenile justice system. The partnership will:

  • Prevent students from entering into the “school to prison” pipeline
  • Work with staff on alternatives to progressive discipline so that mistakes students make at a young age do not adversely affect their future
  • Focus on proactive, preventive interventions for low level offense and strategic, targeted interventions and assistance for more serious offenses
  • Provide students and their families with additional wraparound services to get to the root of behavior problems
  • Assist schools with needed social emotional services and resources such as counseling, mental health services, agency referrals, assessments, screening, and mentorships

 

CCSD leaders also released data on student suspensions, expulsions and behavior referrals by student subgroups, and mandatory versus discretionary referrals by performance zone and school. Data indicates that suspensions have increased significantly, and that African American/Black students are disproportionately suspended and expelled from school.

At a media conference Friday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Watson noted that 70 percent of the students in the juvenile court system are referrals from CCSD School Police. Members of the Partnership hope to reduce the number of referrals to the juvenile justice system by 20 percent by 2020.

Trustee Linda E. Young noted that this partnership could become a national model because of the strong community collaboration. Discussions around this partnership note the increasing number of students who have experienced trauma that has affected their behavior and academic performance:

  • One national study found that 26 percent of children in the United States witness or experience a traumatic event before the age of four years old.
  • Young children exposed to five or more significant adverse experiences in the first three years of childhood face a 76 percent likelihood of having one or more delays in their language, emotional or brain development. (http://www.recognizetrauma.org/statistics.php)

 

At a media conference Friday, Dr. Jara said: “Today, we are being transparent with our data, despite the difficult story it tells. Districts around the nation struggle with this challenge, and it is only when communities rally together to support our students and our educators that we can work together to keep our students out of the juvenile justice system and in class where they belong.”

The district and community partners will soon roll out trainings to align with the vision of the partnership, as well as information on additional supports that community partners are providing. The effort is co-chaired by Chief College, Career and Equity Officer Mike Barton.