December 15, 2017
Street Law first partnered with Walmart to implement the Legal Diversity Pipeline with the company’s legal department in Bentonville, AR, back in 2015. Street Law trained Walmart lawyers and legal professionals to teach students at Springdale High School’s Law Academy about the law and pathways to the legal profession. This year Walmart’s Pipeline Program will serve more than 100 high school students, many of whom are students of color.
In 2017, wanting to build on the success of its Pipeline Program, Walmart’s legal department funded a pilot of Street Law’s Police & Teens Program in the Little Rock metro area. Our Police & Teens Program prepares and equips police officers to teach young people about the law in high schools and community settings. Its collaborative, dialogue-based approach helps build awareness, respect, empathy, and understanding between police officers and youth.
Street Law laid a solid foundation on which to build this program, working diligently to establish relationships with local law enforcement and school systems. In October, our staff traveled to Little Rock and trained 17 school administrators, educators, and school resource officers (i.e., school-based police officers) to implement the Police & Teens Program.
Beginning this month, school resource officers are visiting classrooms at three local schools—North Little Rock High School, J.A. Fair High School, and Cloverdale Middle School—to teach Street Law-designed lessons about law, police encounters, community policing, and personal safety. We anticipate that these efforts will reach at least 250 students in the Little Rock region by May 1, 2018. Our staff will provide support to the school resource officer-teacher teams throughout the duration of the program.
The police departments and school districts involved are excited to have this opportunity to implement a program that can strengthen relationships between police and young people. Street Law is thrilled to expand its work in the state of Arkansas and build a program model that can be used in other regions across the country to bridge the divide between police and teens.
Testimonial from Lieutenant Ernest Whitten, Little Rock Police Department: “Street Law’s training was informative and interactive which gave us practice and examples. The Street Law staff never seem[ed] to run out of enthusiasm and energy. I can’t wait for the next training session and would recommend Street Law training to anyone who is serious about bridging the trust gap between law enforcement and community."
For more information on our Police & Teens Program, visit the program on our website or contact Yolanda Johnson.
(Reproduced with permission)
Street Law for Police & Teens