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Saturday November 1st 2014

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Coalition Addresses Discipline Discrimination

Citizens and organizations concerned about discriminatory disciplinary practices in local schools are being invited to join the Escambia Youth Justice Coalition. The coalition—facilitated by the Southern Poverty Law Center—will hold a meeting this week in Pensacola.

In August, the SPLC filed a complaint against the Escambia County School District, charging that African-American students were being disciplined—suspended, expelled and arrested—for minor infractions and at a higher rate than their caucasian counterparts. The Alabama-based civil rights organization also filed similar complaints against four other Florida school districts. The SPLC stopped short of filing lawsuits, instead requesting that the local communities and school officials work with it to better the environment.

The Escambia Youth Justice Coalition is a follow-up and extension of that SPLC complaint. The coalition attempts to give a collective voice to those who would like to work toward changing what the SPLC has identified as a dangerous trend.

This week’s coalition meeting is being held Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Pensacola, 6 E. Wright St. Those wishing to participate are asked to contact either the Southern Poverty Law Center at (877)751-6183, or the American Civil Liberties Union of Northwest Florida at (850)429-9128.