Fort Myers City Council plans to end ‘school to prison pipeline’

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New evidence shows that some Lee County students are more than likely to end up in a “school to prison pipeline.” A Fort Myers City Council meeting on Monday night discussed efforts to keep kids out of the criminal justice system.

Councilwoman Debbie Jordan told WINK News that Councilman Johnny Streets is floating an idea for bringing truant officers in as part of his fight to stop what he calls the “school to prison pipeline.”

“What we would do is get a list of arrests, and then we can track that area,” said Streets, “so what are we not doing in that area that will perhaps help these youth get more involved with mentoring, boy scouting other things.”

Data from the ACLU shows Florida schools refer students to law enforcement 30% more than the national average. Students not in school because of disciplinary problems are also more than twice as likely to be arrested.

In addition to the school district, Streets made a list of dozens of groups and organizations in Lee County that he thinks could partner with the city to help mentor at-risk youth.

“So many agencies are saying, ‘Well, we want to do the same thing.’ But we don’t need to be independent contractors. We all need to work together,” Streets said.

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