Keynote addresses by the Honorable Judith Kaye, Former Chief Judge of the State of New York and New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott

Panel discussions to feature educators, professors, judges, faith leaders, social workers, and parents and students

Medgar Evers College President Dr. William L. Pollard and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced today that nationally recognized educators, academics, prosecutors, social workers, judges, and faith leaders, along with local parents and students will discuss public policy, criminal justice, and society at an upcoming symposium on Race, Law and Justice: Strategies for Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, generously supported by The Kellogg Foundation, to be held February 14 and 15 on the Medgar Evers College (MEC) campus. This symposium is the second such event being held at MEC in collaboration with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. The partnership was formed three years ago with the goal of keeping the community informed about significant issues that affect the lives and futures of its young people including those of law enforcement, economics and race.

“I am delighted to join with Medgar Evers President William Pollard, Former Chief Judge Judith Kaye and New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Wolcott as we meet to share our commitment to “Close the School to Prison Pipeline.” Each of us understands that by saving our youth we insure our future. I am proud to be a co-sponsor and resource contributor with President Pollard in our second annual Symposium on Race, Law and Justice,” said District Attorney Hynes.

Studies have shown that black students are more than three-and-a-half times as likely than white students to be suspended or expelled and more than 70 percent of students arrested in school or handed over to law enforcement were black or Hispanic. Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.

During the two-day symposium, speakers and panelists will address the school-to-prison pipeline from both a problem- and solution-based perspective. Day One will include a series of policy and community impact panels such as “A Look at the Research – What We Need to Know”, “Factors that Affect the Practices – Are We Ready to Face Them?”, and “The Impact on the Community.”

“Understanding how the school-to-prison pipeline affects our community is critical,” said President Pollard. “We must continue to focus on the ongoing role of both conscious and unconscious racism in the ongoing saga of seeking justice in our nation. District Attorney Hynes and his team’s commitment to justice has driven home the importance of the need for community and national discussions. This forum engages advocates, scholars and the general public in  helping to identify and manage the early behaviors to help our young people avoid situations where they wind up incarcerated and affecting their lives.”

“Research underscores how incarceration decreases life chances for gainful employment, successful college matriculation and how a host of other life-enhancing opportunities are not realized once one is ensnared by the criminal justice system,” said MEC School of Business Dean Dr. Byron Price and a featured panelist.  “A lack of education is the gateway to a lifetime of limited opportunities and a pathway to prison and poverty. This forum provides an understanding of the challenges and offers potential solutions for early intervention.”

Dr. Price’s forthcoming book, “A Lesson Plan for Failure: Educational Malpractice and the School-to-Prison Pipeline Connection”, focuses on the hostile practices which undermine the efforts of advocates and educators to change the trajectory of minority students from dropouts and prisoners to graduates and professionals.  The book provides strategies to address the dropout, carve-out, and push-out mechanisms within secondary schools, which feed the pipeline.

Former New York State Chief Judge and current chair of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, the Honorable Judith Kaye will deliver the keynote address on Thursday, February 14.  Judge Kaye has spent the past two years leading a special task force examining the school-to-prison pipeline and is expected later this year to issue recommendations for systemic, attainable reforms regarding alternative approaches that hold students accountable for their behavior while keeping them engaged in school.

Day Two of the symposium will focus on solutions identified through proven strategies and model programs. New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott will present the keynote address on Friday, February 15. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to engage in breakout discussion groups focused on faith-based solutions, school structured solutions, the community, the judicial system, and law enforcement.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. Byron Price, Dean of the School of Business, Medgar Evers College
  • Annette Fuentes, author of ‘Lockdown High: When the Schoolhouse Becomes a Jailhouse’
  • Daniel Losen, Director of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies: The Civil Rights Project at UCLA
  • The Honorable Steven Teske, Juvenile Court Judge, Clayton County, Georgia
  • Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education
  • Edward Fergus, Deputy Director, the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and Research; Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, NYU
  • Udi Ofer, founding Advocacy Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; Adjunct Professor, New York Law School
  • Damon Hewitt, Director, Education Practice Group at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, Executive Pastor at Concord Baptist Church of Christ

To register for this free symposium or for more information send an e-mail to or call (718) 250-2988.  Visit for a complete agenda.

About the Kings County District Attorney’s Office

The Kings County District Attorney’s Office is one of the largest and busiest prosecutor’s offices in the nation, serving over two million residents in ethnically and culturally diverse Brooklyn. Led by District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, the office is a partner with the Brooklyn community and other law enforcement agencies.

About Medgar Evers College

Medgar Evers College, a senior college within The City University of New York, was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. With a commitment to students who desire a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College seeks to provide high-quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education.

Contact:         Dawn S. Walker/ (718) 530-4539

Jerry Schmetterer/ (718) 250-2300