OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As you drive around Omaha, you will see signs addressing the racial disparity problems that some families are facing in the classrooms.
"Black students make up about six percent of the population in our schools but are 3 times more likely to be suspended than our white counterparts. How do our students dream, how do they aspire, our black males are being criminalized," said Ashlei Spivey, Director of I Be Black Girl.
The ACLU and I Be Black Girl have united. They say one goal is to address the issue of how school resource officers are not being fair about how and who they are penalizing, which starts the school-to-prison pipeline.
"The school to prison pipeline is a phenomenon where students are instead of being kept in school are being pushed out of schools with discipline policies or referrals to law enforcement," added Rose Godinez, ACLU Legal & Policy Counsel. "The campaign is not just about awareness but a call to action, as they say. Right now we are spending more money on prisons than we are on education."
The billboard and bus ads are placed all across the metro, with one strategically placed across the street from the OPS administration building.
"Why are we funding prisons and mass incarceration instead of investing in our youth with more counselors, nurse, school psychologists, right now we do not meet the necessary requirement," continued Godinez.
They have reached out to all of the schools that currently have resource officers, asking them to reconsider the position or, at the very least, institute and make sure officers are following the recommended guidelines and policies.
"It's one thing to know the data points and to know what is happening with our students of color in our classrooms but it's another thing to say, what are we going to do about it?
"In the end, this call to action is about making sure students continue to be bused to school and not prison," said Spivey.
Learn more at aclunebraska.org/prison.
Racial disparities in education: ocrdata.ed.gov
Prisons outspending education: openskypolicy.org