School Board Meeting Recap - October 19, 2015
RPS AND RCPD - LIFE Program
RPS, in partnership with the Richmond City Police department, will be launching a program that aims to improve relations between youth and the police. The program was framed as “intervention through education,” and is aimed at youth in the city who have been arrested for disorderly conduct. Out of the 149 youth arrests in the city over the past year, 59 fit this criteria. While ensuring that all felonies will remain arrests, representatives from the police department emphasized the need to “divert before placing charges.” The program will consist of one weekly session for a span of nine weeks.
One of the most important elements of the program as presented by the officers is parental involvement. The school board expressed a positive outlook on the program, but questioned the effectiveness of this aspect. Ms. Harris-Muhammed, for example, questioned how, given parent participation in RPS is already low, the program planned to attract parents to come to some of the meetings.
The program is scheduled to begin after the holiday break.
Around 20 people voiced their concerns and frustrations during the citizen comments portion of the meeting. Concerns ranged from last summer’s leveling process, to delayed school buses throughout this year, with a particular attention to delayed response from the office of the superintendent about poor treatment of kids with special needs. One group, Dignities in Schools, expressed their frustration over the suspension of a 5 year old with special needs.