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Thursday, October 15, 2015

VIDEO ESSAY: School-to-Prison Pipeline Personified

Reverend H.K. Matthews, founder, National Movement for Civil and Human Rights, and Pensacola civil rights icon.

On October 15, 2015, the National Movement for Civil and Human Rights, headed by Reverend H.K. Matthews, civil rights icon of Pensacola, held a press conference across the street from the Escambia County School District's headquarters to bring community and media focus on how the school district's policies negate the rights of children and parents.

According to the group's statement, "Too often, students in Escambia County routinely face summary removal without due process.  Swift explusions without due process usually operate under the pretext of emergencies.  Emergencies allow the Superintendent to unilaterally become the judge and jury determining which minor student's activity that is perceived as a violation of the district's school safety and order policies.  Students' use of drugs, weapons possession, and bomb threats are the few instances under Florida statutes which provides authority to bypass due process procedures."

Mr. Ellison Bennett, local representative of the National Movement for Civil and Human Rights, in coordination with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (Reverend James Watson), Unity in the Family Ministry (Reverend Dr. Calvin Avant), the NAACP (Ms. Eliades Sampson, Pensacola president), and New World Believers (Reverend Rodney Jones) want all parents to know the following information in accordance with the Escambia County School Board's Student Rights and Responsibility's guidelines:

"The District has an obligation to document and notify parents/guardians regarding disciplinary sanctions taken against a student.

Prior to any disciplinary action, the student will be informed of charges against him/her orally and in writing.

The severity of the charge and the student's past disciplinary record will determine the punishment.

A student is entitled to legal counsel, to cross examine witnesses, or to call his/her own witnesses when a suspension exceeds 10 days."

L-R, Reverend James Watson, SCLC, Ms. Cindy Martin, Mr. Ellison Bennett, NMCHR

Reverend Rodney Jones, New World Believers

What follows are videos in the order of presentation at today's press conference.

Ms. Thelma ROBY, National Movement for Civil and Human Rights providing an overview of the expulsion action taken by the school district against three young men with promising futures.


Above, Reverend James Watson, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Opening Prayer

Above, Mr. Ellision Bennett, NMCHR, Introduction to issues.

Above, Ms. Davida Jones, mother of one of the three boys under school district threat.

 Above and below, Ms. Thelma Roby, NMCHR.

Above and below, Reverend H.K. Matthews, founder, National Movement for Civil and Human Rights.  Due to a camera malfunction, parts of Reverend Matthews' presentation was reshot after the press conference.

Above, Reverend James Watson, president Pensacola SCLC

Above, Reverend Dr. Calvin Avant, Unity in the Family Ministry

Above, Ms. Marilynn Lowe, community activist and retired school bus driver.

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