Act now: Call your delegate
SB995/HB1534 is up for a vote Friday, February 17, in the House of Delegates. The law is aimed to reduce long-term suspensions; text is: Student discipline; long-term suspension. Prohibits a long-term suspension from extending beyond 60 school days unless the school board or the superintendent find that the student's behavior could constitute an offense of an enumerated crime if the offense occurred at school, on school property, or at a school-sponsored event. The bill requires the school board or the superintendent to conduct a review of any suspension that exceeds 60 days at the end of each grading period to determine if the student can return to school early.
According to the Legal Aid Justice Center, students who are excluded from school are more likely to experience academic failure and grade retention; dropping out of school; mental health issues; substance abuse; and justice system involvement. Schools with high suspension rates generally report lower test scores and graduation rates, and have less satisfactory climate ratings.A yes vote on this law could reduce suspension times to 11-90 days, rather than 11-364 days. The vote is currently tied and needs your voice. Call your Delegate and express your opinion NOW! Track the legislation here.
February 3 through March: Learn and connect
RichmondJustice.org is hosting an exhibit of their portraits of people who are connected to the criminal justice system, plus quotes, maps, and statistics, at UR Downtown, 626 E. Broad Street. The exhibit is available to travel to other locations as well.
February 18: Learn and connect
W&M’s annual Active Citizens conference, Saturday, February 18, is also built around the theme, The Daily Work of Justice. Keynote speaker Jeree Thomas, the Policy Director for The Campaign for Youth Justice, a national initiative focused on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. Registrations are due February 8.
March 11: Volunteer and learn
Virginia Center for Restorative Justice is holding an Introduction to Restorative Justice session Saturday, March 11, 9 am - 5 pm at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 11220 Nuckols Road, Suite 188, Glen Allen, VA 23059. Those who participate can volunteer for the VCRJ. Register for training now; there are only 20 spots available.
March 12 - 16: Faith-based opportunity
Outrageous Justice Small-group Sessions at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Williamsburg, VA, 3 Sundays 6:30pm to 8pm – March 12, 19, and 26. God calls people to seek justice. But given the complexities of our criminal justice system, how can the followers of Jesus have a clear understanding of criminal justice issues and take action to promote peace and restoration? Small groups will learn about the challenges in the American criminal justice system and explore how Christians can respond in hands-on ways to pursue justice and bring about true hope, restoration, and healing. More information available here.
Ongoing: Get Involved
Join Black Lives Matter in Williamsburg.
Ongoing: Learn and connect
See more about Art 180's work to connect incarcerated teams, artists, and top legal experts to transform the juvenile justice system at www.performingstatistics.org. Learn about the art and advocacy work, download free teaching tools, and request more information.
Ongoing: Volunteer and teach
OAR has a great need for volunteers to facilitate classes at the Henrico County Regional Jail East (New Kent). The commitment is 1.5 hours per week. All curriculum, materials, and training are provided. Classes include: Anger Management, AA/NA, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups, Parenting, or Healthy Relationships. For more information, contact Hannah Brechlin, Community Engagement Coordinator at (804) 643-2746 or email@example.com.