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New Policy Looks To Shape Cleveland Police Behavior When Dealing With Adolescents

Cleveland Police on Public Square [shutterstock]

To begin the program today, we're offering another installment of our special reporting project, Learning Curve: examining the past, present and future of K-12 public education in Ohio.

The endeavor is being led by public radio station WKSU, in partnership with ideastream. Together we're examining public education in Ohio, the state of funding, opportunity gaps, inequity, the role of public schools in child welfare, and common core/curriculum structure.

We're also reporting on the profound impact of the pandemic on public education.

This week we dive into the idea of ‘year round’ schooling, a model that’s being looked at in order for some districts to make up for lost time due to the pandemic.

This 'year round' model may be one answer - but as you'd expect, it has it's both benefits, and drawbacks.

Later on in the program, a trip to The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and a discussion with it’s Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. We’ll talk coronavirus and the animal population there, and we also hear about the safety precautions in place as the zoo opens up for visitors.

Lastly, few police departments in the country have clear policies on how police should interact with children, but Cleveland will be among the first in the country to enact specific rules in this area in the coming months, more than 6 years following the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

These policing rules are the subject of a recent reporting partnership between The Marshall Project and ideastream.

This new policy will require Cleveland Police officers to consider the child's age, physical build, and emotional state before using force.

A Boston-based organization, Strategies for Youth, has documented a rising number of cases involving younger children from 2000 to 2018, and has noted an increase in lawsuits alleging use of force by officers assigned to patrol schools.
To discuss coverage of Cleveland's new rules, we talk to Abbie VanSickle, who covered the story for the Marshall Project.

We also speak with Gabriella Celeste, a Policy Director with the Schubert Center for Child Studies, at Case Western Reserve University. As well as Charmin Leon, member of the Cleveland Community Police Commission and Implementation Specialist with the Center for Policing Equity. She is also a former Sergeant with The Cleveland Police Department.

- Kabir Bhatia, Reporter and Producer, 89.7 WKSU
- Dr. Chris Kuhar, Ph.D., Executive Director, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
- Abbie VanSickle, Staff Writer, The Marshall Project
- Gabriella Celeste, Policy Director, Schubert Center for Child Studies, Case Western Reserve University
- Charmin Leon, Member, Cleveland Community Police Commission &  
Implementation Specialist, Center for Policing Equity

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.