The Summit is the first national gathering of the states’ top education and judicial leaders to address the school-court connection. The willingness of these leaders to come together for this gathering underscores the growing prominence of this issue across the country.
The summit in New York City on March 11-13, 2012, brings together justice system and school system leaders from across the nation, with the objective of working collaboratively to find ways to keep kids in school and out of courts. Some of the highlights, objectives, milestones and accomplishments of the summit include:
- The Summit is being convened by Judge Judith Kaye, former Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. As a prominent and passionate national voice on children and youth, Judge Kaye recognizes the power of judicial leadership in bringing partners together to collaborate on this important issue.
- The Summit is the first national gathering of the states’ top education and judicial leaders to address the school-court connection. The willingness of these leaders to come together for this gathering underscores the growing prominence of this issue across the country.
- The Summit showcases a growing body of research and evidence-based alternatives that indicate suspensions and expulsions are not effective in improving student behavior and are significantly associated with drop out and involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
- The Summit will highlight cutting edge research, information and concrete strategies for improving disciplinary policy and practices, and reducing referrals of minor misbehavior to juvenile and criminal courts.
- The Summit agenda is packed with the leading national researchers and speakers on the school-justice connection, including presentations on discipline and racial justice, the impact of trauma on student behavior, and the use of emerging practices such as Positive Behavior Intervention Systems and restorative justice to address student misbehavior within the school community.
- Confirmed speakers include many of the authors who contributed to the Summit’s publication, Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court: A Collection of Reports to Inform the National Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships, such as Daniel J. Losen, J.D., M. Ed., Director, Center for Civil Rights Remedies, The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, Jeffrey Sprague, Ph.D., University of Oregon Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, Hon. Steven C. Teske, Juvenile Court of Clayton County, GA, Russell Skiba, Ph.D., Director of the Equity Project at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, as well as Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
- The Summit gives states and local communities – such as Connecticut, Colorado and Baltimore, Maryland – a platform to share their lessons learned as they begin taking steps to restrict the use of suspensions and expulsions to only the most serious offenses, such as weapon possession, in advance of policy guidance from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education that is expected to caution school districts against the overuse of suspension, expulsion and arrest.
- This national convening comes at a time of mounting national interest in promoting policies and practices that keep kids in school and out of court. The issue moved to the forefront of debate with the announcement last summer by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan of the federal Supportive School Discipline Initiative. Additionally, the release of stunning data on widespread suspensions and expulsions in Texas and their negative effects on school children has solidified the urgent need to address the problem.
- The Summit will give participants an opportunity to develop relationships and communication channels for future information sharing within their states and with other states. These relationships are critical to the creation of effective cross-systems service delivery for children that prevents involvement in the justice system in the first place, but also gives those who do enter the system clear off-ramps as well as opportunities to thrive.
- School-justice partnerships will help improve outcomes for students through policies and practices that provide safe, respectful, supportive learning environments and promote positive student behavior; detect at-risk kids early and provide appropriate supports to enable them to achieve; and develop standards that hold children accountable for misbehaviors yet reserve extreme measures such as school expulsion and mandatory arrest for the most egregious cases.
Judith S. Kaye, former Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, convened the National Leadership Summit on School-Justice Partnerships: Keeping Kids In School and Out of Court with the encouragement and assistance from a diverse group of partners and supporters.