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Stopping school-to-prison pipeline focus of new program at Pittsburgh Public Schools

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Public Schools is leading a movement along with community organizations to protect Black children from falling victim to the juvenile detention system.

District leaders will be asking the school board to approve a contract with RMC Research Corporation (RMC), if approved - would study current police data, calls for service arrests and citations.

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The push comes after the Black Girls Equity Alliance released a report showing African American students in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County continue to be referred to the juvenile courts at a much higher rate than white children. The report cites that PPS is the largest source of referrals for Black girls in the county.

“This report reveals alarming truths to the systemic inequities affecting Black youth in our region and the racial disproportionality in referrals to the juvenile justice system. We look forward to the results of this thorough data analysis that will help us better understand the sources and causes of inequitable juvenile justice engagements,” said Dr. Anthony Hamlet, Superintendent.

The review will also highlight the focus of the district’s Suspension Review Team, which is studying the district’s ban of suspensions for children in grades K-2.

“While suspensions and school arrests have decreased under my administration, we can and must do better to protect Black children in Pittsburgh. We take ownership and responsibility for the data, and we are working to decriminalize our students and eliminate the school to prison pipeline,” said Hamlet.

The Board is anticipated to vote on the contract at its Sept. 23 legislative meeting.

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