In cities and suburbs across America, we are seeing the dire consequences of increases in opioid use, and national leaders are clamoring for answers. Addiction does not differentiate between the young or old, black or white, working class or white-collar professional.
When you walk, drive, or ride the bus in Baltimore do you see homeless youth? Can you tell whether the youth you stroll past is headed to a safe, stable home, or whether she doesn’t know where she’ll lay her head tonight or find her next meal?
We must correct errors and maintain a criminal justice system we can be proud of—one where the people involved receive justice and second chances.
When we punish students by kicking them out of school for nonviolent infractions, we’ve lost the opportunity to instruct them. But when discipline practices change, students’ outcomes change—for the better.
Student attendance has long been a challenge in City Schools, and in recent years it has received renewed attention. Yet attention alone is not achieving the attendance levels necessary for our students to succeed.
We actually did it. After the debates, public hearings and letter-writing campaigns, advocates for school disciplinary reform heard a decision from the Maryland State Board of Education that was three years in the making. The Board decided to eliminate zero tolerance policies and enact a common-sense approach to school discipline.
Time and again, the ACLU receives calls from Marylanders, usually poor and of color, who have fallen victim to the failed war on drugs. Many describe the illegal searches and verbal intimidation they experienced at the hands of law enforcement officers in the misguided, racially biased, and endless hunt for marijuana.
Relying on suspending or excluding students doesn’t get to the root of behavior problems or make them more interested in school. But a new video, Up for Debate, shows how the Baltimore Urban Debate League has helped students become motivated learners. Watch the video.