Framework set for new school-justice partnership initiative

Macon-Bibb District Attorney’s presentation on a new school and justice initiative is complete. The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Bibb County School District and other partners developed a protocol for handling youth in schools.

At the District Attorney Office, they have met their goal to have the framework completed Tuesday afternoon. Over the last two days, participants mapped out what offenses will result in students receiving services, and under what circumstances is a case referred to court.

“It resets the default settings for both the school and for the school resource officer about what they should do when children act up,” District Attorney David Cooke said.

According to Cooke, there’s usually an underlining issue when kids misbehave. This will give school resource officers option to give this child treatment they need.

“We know this because of the data, we know this because this program has been used in many other places and has been extraordinary successful, but I think the biggest thing to think about too is that we’re not just helping the kids that need it, but we’re making schools and the communities safe,” he said.

Two things can happen from this protocol.

“We’re able to spend more time on the teenage offenders that are actually doing real crime that threatens people, but also this new approach allows officers in the school to build better relationships with the students,” Cooke said.

Cooke says the authoritative figure, the officer, won’t be looked as the person trying to get them in trouble. rather someone who can help.

“if we see that they’re liable to getting a certain kind of treatment through the court system, it’s better to give them that treatment early and for them to never come to court because it wastes resources and allows the child to get treatment ahead of time,” he said.

The next stage is to get the agreement in writing and have everyone sign it. Cooke says it’s usually a three to six month process. He’s confident this initiative should be in place by the fall for the new school year.

Categories: Bibb County, Education, Local News

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