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NEA applauds Justice Department’s civil rights investigation into Ferguson

Educators urge honest and frank discussions about racism across America


WASHINGTON - September 04, 2014 -

The United States Department of Justice launched a civil rights investigation into the police practices that led to the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. The senseless killing led to days of protests across the country.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:

“Educators applaud Attorney General Eric Holder for launching a civil rights investigation into the police practices of the Ferguson police department. This is a step in the right direction and much-needed action that family members of Michael Brown, community, and civil rights leaders have been demanding since the incident.

“Like the death of Trayvon Martin, the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson has inspired millions of Americans across the country to urgently seek answers and demand action. We agree. We need to end widespread racial profiling and racially motivated violence against and humiliation of racial and ethnic minorities.

“Educators believe that now is the time to raise awareness and create dialogue about the problem of racial and ethnic profiling nationwide.

“We also believe that this dialogue must happen in our schools and communities, amongst parents, educators, and with our youth.”

NEA Tools and Resources
NEA has put together tools and resources for educators, parents, social justice advocates, and community partners to help start the dialogue to end racial profiling.

To help create this dialogue, NEA has joined a curriculum workgroup with the NAACP, Not In Our Town/Not in Our School, Teaching Tolerance/Southern Poverty Law Center, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Human Rights Educators of the USA (HRE-USA) Network, and Facing History and Ourselves.

The workgroup has identified and/or developed materials to help educators, parents, administrators, and youth address the problem of racial profiling. These materials include tips for youth on how to interact during encounters with law enforcement.

NEA recognizes that racial profiling is not just a police problem, and we are working to eradicate racial disparities in school discipline. Too many students of color are being suspended from school. Alongside a growing chorus of voices nationwide—parents, students, district officials, community organizations, and policymakers—NEA has called on its 3 million members to embrace proven restorative approaches to addressing conflict in schools.

NEA also provided its members with evidence-based strategies for creating a school climate in which all students are treated equally and discipline problems are greatly reduced.

NEA recognizes that the issue of racial profiling will not be resolved in a day, a week, or a month. Racism is, after all, the most intractable force in our society – and denial is the life-support system of racism. But we believe if people of good will confront the evils of racial profiling and racism, we will overcome them.

To learn more about what NEA is doing to stop the school-to-prison pipeline visit http://www.nea.org/home/44548.htm

Follow the conversation at @NEAMedia #restorativepractices

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The National Education Association (nea.org) is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823, mgonzalez@nea.org


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