Back in the fall of 2011, kids bullied Alycin Mabry so severely that her mom decided to home school the Atlanta 14-year-old. At the time, her mom Annise Mabry saw homeschooling as the shining answer the family needed. But today, Mabry says, it’s clear that their struggle was far from over. “Maybe two or three months into the online school, Ali started to become more and more isolated,” Mabry said. “I just couldn’t get her out of the room.
A collaboration between the Southern Education Desk and JJIE will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s 17 radio stations this week. The series, focusing on bullying, was written by GPB’s Maura Walz and JJIE’s Chandra Thomas. Below is a breakdown of the series’ schedule:
Tuesday, November 8 during All Things Considered (5:50pm) and Wednesday, November 9 during Morning Edition (between 6:00-9:00am)
1. Georgia’s Revamped Bullying Law Arrives In Schools (Maura Walz) Description: Public school students and parents are seeing some changes this year in the way their schools handle bullying. That’s because of a law passed by the legislature last year that schools are now starting to put into practice.
Chandra Thomas, JJIE.org’s award-winning state capital reporter, has been named a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow by the Open Society Foundations. She joins 17 other advocates, journalists, lawyers, grassroots organizers and filmmakers working on a wide array of criminal justice reform issues. As part of the prestigious fellowship, Thomas will spend 12 months producing a series of print and multimedia pieces examining the ways that some Georgia schools divert at-risk children into the state’s 200-plus alternative schools, priming them for the criminal justice system. The fellowship is sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, an organization whose mission is to curb mass incarceration, reduce harsh punishment and ensure a fair and equitable system of justice in the United States. George Soros, the founder of the Open Society Foundations, has contributed more than $1 billion in the United States to fund the fellowships.
Since the beginning of the Georgia legislative session our reporter Chandra Thomas and our supporting JJIE.org staff of editors, interns and freelancers have been closely watching all legislation aimed at juvenile justice issues. Thomas had two excellent round-up stories yesterday and today targeting which bills would move forward and which would not on crossover day. I opened my Atlanta Journal-Constitution today to see how its coverage of these juvenile justice bills compared with ours here at the JJIE.org. From what I could see there was nothing to compare. I saw nothing about Senate Bill 127, which is a rewrite of the juvenile code.
The American Civil Liberties Union calls the “School-To-Prison Pipeline” (STPP) one of the most important civil rights challenges facing our nation today (view the Advancement Project’s STPP report). The term refers to what the organization cites as a national trend of criminalizing, rather than educating, the nation’s children. It is carried out, the ACLU says, through zero-tolerance discipline, school-based arrests, disciplinary alternative schools and secured detention to marginalize disadvantaged youth and deny them access to a quality education. In an effort to raise public awareness and map out prevention strategies, the ACLU of Georgia is teaming up with several other non-profit organizations to hold a series of five regional community symposiums. The overall objective, organizers say, is to bring together students, parents, community groups, elected representatives and faith-based organizations. All of the information compiled will be included in a statewide action plan that would highlight community-based solutions as well as proven local and national strategies for change. ACLU of Georgia Legal Director Chara Jackson spoke to JJIE’s Chandra Thomas about the focus of the forums being held next month across the state — from Atlanta to Valdosta.
Just over a decade ago former Juvenile Justice Commissioner Orlando Martinez, 70, was the highest-ranking Latino in state government. He resigned abruptly from his post in 2003 amid fallout over his decision to close a troubled Augusta youth prison. Now the Founder and Senior Partner of the Atlanta-based consulting firm, Martinez Tjaden, LLP keeps plenty busy consulting in both the public and private systems nationwide. In the second installation of a two-part interview series, he talks to JJIE.org’s Chandra R. Thomas about racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the impact of state budget cuts and what Georgia is doing right. What’s lacking from Georgia’s current system?