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School To Prison Pipeline Discussion Calls For Reform

Chesterfield Commonwealth Attorney Scott Miles
Scott Miles talks about some of the reforms needed to fix the School-to-Prison Pipeline while ACLU State Advocacy Campaigns Director Kemba Smith Pradia listens. (Photo: Ian Stewart/VPM)

Earlier this year, Governor Ralph Northam announced that over $3 Million would go toward funding more School Resource Officers to enter K-through-12 schools.  Attorney Scott Miles thinks the schools are over-policed. 

“I can’t speak for our Police Chief but I know he’s understaffed and I’m sure he’d appreciate having all those SROs back on patrol in the community.”

Miles and the other panelists say school funding should go toward increasing the number of school counselors. 

James Braxton, Rise for Youth
Rise for Youth Coordinator James Braxton says there's a disparity in which people of color are being punished for crimes that are caused by trauma at home. (Photo: Ian Stewart/VPM News)

James Braxton of the non-profit group Rise for Youth says that young people of color and those with learning disabilities or with traumatic backgrounds are being charged with crimes in schools that shouldn’t be. 

“And that kind of enforces policies that create more criminalization.”

Braxton says that these issues should fall under public health and public safety. 

According to a poll released by the research company GBAO 86 percent of Virginians support providing financial incentives to invest in alternatives to youth incarceration.

Ian Stewart/VPM News