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The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council (MODDC) awarded Missouri Juvenile Justice Association (MJJA) with a $275,000 grant to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline for students of color who have developmental disabilities.

This three-year project will disrupt the pipeline through trainings developed and provided to educators and school resource officers, utilizing best practices in implementing restorative justice in schools.

“I am excited to work with MJJA on this project. MJJA is in the process of planning an innovative approach to disrupting the school to prison pipeline for students of color who have disabilities. This project will strive to reduce disparities so students of color with disabilities will have a more equitable, inclusive educational experience,” says MODDC program coordinator Katheryne Staeger-Wilson.

ACLU Missouri reports, “Black students and students with disabilities are punished more severely and more frequently than their peers in schools across Missouri. Disproportionate school discipline in Missouri is costly, unconstitutional and funnels children out of school and into the criminal justice system.”

This project should address these inequities, reduce these incidents and reduce referrals to the juvenile justice system that lead to a future in the criminal justice system.

The Missouri Juvenile Justice Association (MJJA) brings together juvenile justice system professionals and agencies, interested organizations, private corporations and individuals who are committed to improving the Missouri juvenile justice system for the sake of the children in need of a future.

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council is a federally-funded, 23-member, consumer-driven council appointed by the Governor. Its mandate under P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity and integration in all aspects of community life.

To learn more or to get involved, visit www.moddcouncil.org.