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School-to-prison pipeline targeted by judges, education officials

Jakayla Ivory, a St. Louis high-school student convicted of second-degree assault, likely would have gotten two years in jail. Instead, she went to school at Jimmie Edwards’ Innovative Concept Academy, the Huffington Post reports. Edwards, a St. Louis Juvenile Court judge, started the public school in 2009 with the purpose of serving students who might otherwise be lost to the juvenile justice system.

“It gave her (Ivory) hope for a better life,” said Edwards, who handled Ivory’s case and sentencing. “She is now doing well. She learned how to play chess, when she would have been locked up.”

Edwards, in his crossover role of school leader and judge, embodies a new kind of firepower that civil-rights and children’s advocates want to use to combat school discipline policies that lead to dropouts and arrests for minor infractions. “There’s this great move afoot by the judicial realm to get involved,” he said…

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