THE BLACK CHILD AGENDA CONFERENCE
Tackling the Schools to Prison Pipeline..!!
“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunities of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right that must be made available on equal terms.”
– Chief Justice Earl Warren, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
The school-to-prison pipeline: an epidemic that is plaguing schools across the nation. Far too often, students are kept in isolation, given fix term exclusions or permanently excluded this can even go as far as a child being arrested for minor offenses that leave visits to the headteacher's office a thing of the past. Statistics reflect that these policies disproportionately target students of color and those with a history of abuse, neglect, poverty or learning disabilities.
Watch Cheryl Phoenix live on the BBC discussing the issues around exclusions and the minor things Black children will be excluded for , take a listen.
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Who We Are
The Black Child Agenda CIC is an international multi award winning organisation supporting children and families who face discrimination, permanent exclusion, bullying, isolation and those not being correctly supported with mental health concerns in the UK.
The Black Child Agenda has a successful track record of supporting children and families up and down the UK who face challenges, often based on the colour of their skin, rather then the content of their character.
The Black Child Agenda was born in 2011, after the founder Cheryl Phoenix's son's came up against overt racism and direct discrimination at their school. They and other black students were being harshly penalised with regular sanctions of isolation and fixed term exclusions, or off-site education for minor infractions, whilst their white counterparts were given simple warnings.
The pattern was not only being witnessed by Cheryl, but also by other parents, teachers, professionals and the general public, up and down the country. With countless case studies and reports, (the most recent being the Lammy report), highlighting the issues around discriminatory processes within the education, judicial, Healthcare & recruitment system.
Cheryl has often said that it is not going far enough to simply “highlight” the issues, those of us within the African Caribbean and Mixed race communities live with these issues daily, we are often told we are “playing the race card”, when we wish to address our concerns, however this often falls on deaf ears. Cheryl explains, yet another report has been compiled, wasting millions of pounds with no clear outcomes, or policy changes which positively affect the African Caribbean & Mixed communities, there is a great deal of lip services, mainstream radio shows belittling the issues that this community faces, however we are being systematically failed daily.
A prime example of this is the disgusting way the Windrush scandal has come about and been dealt with. Teresa May's government has deported hundred's of people from the Caribbean who were INVITED to the UK back in the early 50's, with the promise of a “better life in the motherland” however these communities have been treated worse than dogs since they endured the boat journey to the UK. Despite these people fighting in British Wars, building the NHS service and other key buildings and monuments up and down the UK.
Cheryl is unapologetic in her stance and naming of her organisation, as she knows historically there has been no group of people who have been treated in such an abhorrent manner as the Black child and family. With Black children 168x's more likely to be permanently excluded from mainstream school's something drastic needed to be done.
Who’s in the Pipeline?- Students from two groups—racial minorities and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)—are disproportionately represented in the school-to-prison pipeline. Black students, for instance, are 167 times more likely than their white counterparts to be excluded for a fixed term or permanently excluded. Black children constitute 12 percent of students, but they account for 46 percent of those excluded more than once.
For students with disabilities, the numbers are equally troubling. One report found that while 8.6 percent of public school children have been identified as having disabilities that affect their ability to learn, these students make up 32 percent of youth in juvenile detention centres.
The Black Child Agenda began doing road trips and conferences in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester and many other areas, raising awareness with parents on how to successfully challenge the system.
The Black Child Agenda is regurlarly featured in The Independent Newspaper, The Guardian, many local papers, Channel4, BBC News, BBC Radio London Vanessa Feltz show & regularly featured on the Dotun Adebayo show. Cheryl has come from a background of being a Multi-award winning serial entrepreneur to the Agenda, which is the Black Child business & Family Agenda #unapologetically.
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