The Denver Public School system along with the police departments of the city and surrounding areas have signed an agreement that is designed to place limits on the interaction between students and law enforcement officials.
Under the five-year agreement, school system officials say they are seeking to resist the growing national trend known as the school-to-prison pipeline.
The pipeline is a growing pattern in America in which students are pushed out of schools and into the criminal justice system. It is widely criticized as the result of school systems that neglect to address the needs of students who often need additional educational or social assistance.
As a result, students, even in the early years of elementary school, are often incarcerated for minor offenses.
Civil rights and advocacy groups have complained that the problem is it disproportionately affects African-American students. And they insist that the interaction with police leads to a cycle of incarceration. The practice has been harshly criticized by the NAACP and other groups.
The new agreement includes a collaboration between law enforcement, school officials, the Denver Police Department and a Denver-based organization called Padres y Jovenes Unidos, an organization led by people of color who work for educational excellence, racial justice for youth, immigrant rights and quality health care.
“This is a historic collaboration between a school district, a police department and an organization that represents parents and young people of color who are most impacted by these policies,” said Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights group that partnered with Padres y Jovenes Unidos to secure the agreement.
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