JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four Northeast Florida organizations are looking to change the future of our African American youth. The groups, Florida New Majority, Dream Defenders, ACLU of North Florida, and Teen Leaders of America are addressing the issues surrounding the School to Prison Pipeline.
The School to Prison Pipeline is a nationwide system of local, state and federal education that pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. According to the organizations, schools indirectly push students towards the criminal justice system through expulsion and suspension.
Angela Nixon, of Florida New Majortiy, says African Americans are targeted by the school to prison pipeline. "I feel the village has stopped helping to raise the kids and the school to prison pipeline," said Nixon. "I feel that when you don't have adequate resources and I feel that when you don't have a good education...how can you apply for a career? Not just a job but a career, because a job doesn't cut it these days."
In 2012- 2013, over 11,000 students were given an out-of-school suspended in Duval County. However, over 8,000 of those students were African American. Additionally, more than 18% of African American males received an out-of-school suspension, while only 5.6% of white males received one.
Rodney Hunter, 13, says he faces discrimination in his school. "I feel like it's the African American kids who get in trouble, as opposed to the Caucasian kids who do stuff and don't get in trouble at all."
The organization says 5th grade African American females face the biggest disparity and they are nearly 10 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers.