We Cannot Reform Prisons without Reforming Education!

Many Metro Atlanta school districts are returning back to school on today. But how many of these schools will actually decrease the number of Black students impacted by bias in policies designed to throw them into the school to prison pipeline?

In working to decrease the school to prison pipeline in Georgia over the last 15 years, I can tell you that parents and residents in Forest Park, Georgia now have hope!

7 Pillars Career Academy opens its doors on today as a new charter middle school serving grade 6. What makes 7 Pillars unique are quite a few things but most important to me as long time educator is that we are a suspension free school.

One question that our Head of Schools, Christian Guillen, posed to parents and community stakeholders at our open house this past Saturday is this, “If we know the challenges our children face in school, why aren’t we removing the roadblocks?” Well, at 7 Pillars we are doing just that.

Unfair school policies push our students out of schools. Black and brown children are suspended and expelled from schools at much higher rates than their counterparts. Many schools struggle with finding solutions to educating children of color.

Trouble areas that impact this pipeline are Special Education, the lack of Black male teachers in schools and the true understanding of how to do restorative work in schools.

At 7 Pillars, I’m excited to be at a school in Georgia that finally is providing a sensible solution for Black and Brown parents and ending the school to prison pipeline.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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