Senator Dwight Bullard, District 39 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2013
SENATOR BULLARD AND LAWMAKERS: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” ON ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY
TALLAHASSEE – State Senator Dwight Bullard (D-39), along with members of the Florida legislature and community leaders were joined by more than 100 children, parents and advocates today to deliver an impassioned plea at the state capitol to move the legislature to action on stagnated bills in Florida’s juvenile justice system.
“There are four bills that have seen little or no attention in either the Senate or House to address protections for children,” Sen. Bullard said.
“Behind me are scores of youth, families and community members from all across Florida who have come to Tallahassee to say ‘enough is enough’ and request we pass the bills that make our schools and communities safer.”
Senator Bullard and fellow lawmakers stress that the currently law (SB 2112) leaves many students vulnerable to the zero tolerance policies, with many adolescents later finding themselves engulfed in the state’s prison system. Senator Bullard along with Rep. Mia Jones and other lawmakers have introduced bills to reform SB2112 to end the ‘school-to-prison pipeline and protect all children in detention facilities.
Last year in Florida over 30,000 children were arrested for a misdemeanor. In spite of a law passed in 2011 mandating that civil citation or diversion be available statewide, only a small percentage of eligible children receive it. Senator Audrey Gibson (D-9) and Rep Gyyndolen Clarke-Reed (D-92) introduced SB 660 and HB603 respectively, which calls for use a civil citation rather than arrest for first time offenders. Currently, despite the impassioned efforts of lawmakers and community members, these bills have not received attention in the Republican controlled legislature.