The official application cycle has closed, but a Gwinnett County-based community organization that focuses primarily on education issues is seeking more male applicants for its upcoming community training program. The Gwinnett Parent Coalition to dismantle the school-to-prison-pipeline (aka Gwinnett STOPP) has received an overwhelming response from female applicants, but organizers say they’re holding out for more men to sign up this month. The school-to-prison-pipeline is a national trend wherein some advocates say children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. JJIE.org’s Chandra R. Thomas spoke to co-chairwoman Marlyn Tillman about the Parent Leadership Institute, which officially kicks off next month. JJIE: What is Gwinnett STOPP? TILLMAN: We are a parent-led organization; we’re a volunteer organization that was formed in 2007.
Students and teachers in Gwinnett County, Ga., schools hoping to find educational material about sexual orientation and identity are discovering that those websites are blocked by the school district’s Internet filter. The filter, administered by a private company, includes a category named “LGBT” intended to block access to sites that include information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia says the filter violates the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act, federal legislation that provides equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the ACLU sent a letter to the Gwinnett school superintendent demanding the LGBT filter be removed or risk litigation. “The administration at Brookwood High School has always been really supportive,” said Nowmee Shehab, a senior and the president of the high school’s Gay Straight Alliance. “But a few weeks ago the web filter system at our school was changed, and suddenly websites that I’d been using all year to plan activities for our gay-straight alliance club started being blocked.”
A Gwinnett school system spokesperson told the AJC that students and faculty may request access to some blocked sites.
A 16-year-old was arrested in Gwinnett County last week for allegedly shooting another 16-year-old in the chest, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The District Attorney’s Office hopes to try him as an adult, which could result in a 20-year prison sentence. Two other teens, ages 17 and 18, were arrested this week in connection with the shooting. The Gwinnett Daily Post (GDP) reveals that the older suspect is enrolled as a senior at Hooper Renwick School while the 17-year-old is enrolled in 8th grade at Grace Snell Middle School. The latter has not attended school all year, a Gwinnett Public Schools spokesperson told the GDP. The three suspects are suspected to be involved in gang activity. “…Arrest warrants show [the 18-year-old] admitted to having a ‘captain’ rank in whatever gang set he claims,” said the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Only 47 percent of African-American male students graduated from high school during the 2007-08 schoolyear, according to a report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education. The report is called Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education . It ranks all 50 states by black male graduation rates. Georgia is 10th from the bottom with a graduation rate of 43% for black teenage boys. In contrast, the graduation rate for white teenage boys is 62%.