Target: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Goal: Take immediate action to reduce disproportionate arrests of black students at schools.
Black students in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System are arrested at a much higher rate than their white peers. This is racist school policing and cannot be allowed to continue. Demand that the state take immediate action to address this disciplinary prejudice.
The school district of Jefferson Parish has a long history of disproportionately arresting its black students. In the 2010-2011 school year, black students accounted for 76 percent of the school districts arrests, when they only made up 46 percent of the student body. As of late the rates have only gotten worse—between 2013 and 2014, black students made up 80 percent of all school arrests while only making up 42 percent of the student body.
To make matters worse, the arrests are all too often for the breaking of minor school rules. In one case, a black eighth grader was allegedly arrested and detained for six days just for throwing Skittles on a school bus. Another was charged with interference of an educational facility just for yelling outside, and an autistic child was handcuffed and forced onto the ground for having an outburst.
These arrests deprive these black students of classroom time and accelerate the school-to-prison pipeline. Sign the petition below to demand that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal take immediate steps to address and alleviate the racial disparities in school arrests in the Jefferson Parish Public School System.
Dear Governor Jindal,
I am writing you today regarding the racial disparities in school arrests that have been taking place for years in the Jefferson Parish Public School System. These disparities demand immediate, concrete action.
Even though black students make up less than half of all the students in the district, they have, for years, accounted for more than 75 percent of school arrests. This is blatant racism in policing. It deprives black students of their education, it leaves them with criminal records for the most petty of school rule infractions, and it accelerates the school-to-prison pipeline. In short, it puts them at a major disadvantage, compared to their white peers, extremely early in their lives.
Even if the school cops doing the arresting are not explicitly racist, countless studies have shown that police can hold prejudices against black people without them even being conscious of them. In neither case should the bigotry be tolerated. I demand that you take immediate action to address and alleviate the racial disparities in policing in the Jefferson Parish Public School System.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Billy Hathorn