Blog | June 9, 2021

Meet the Panelists | Community Conversation: Policing in Schools

Districts and schools across the country are examining the role school police and School Resource Officers play in the lives of students. In Indianapolis, local organizations and districts are conducting audits, gathering parent and student input and asking for more accountability.

Join Stand for Children Indiana, The Mind Trust and UNCF on Tuesday, June 15 at 6:00 p.m. for a virtual community conversation on police in schools and learn more about current research and recommendations from local and national experts. Register for the conversation here.

Moderator – Karen Vaughn, Radio One

Karen is Director of Operations for Radio One Indianapolis and you can hear her fun and real personality 10am – 3pm on 106.7 WTLC. Karen is deeply committed to using her platform to inform, entertain and inspire.

Her charisma, vibrancy and engaging sensibility allow her to not only develop entertaining programming, but to connect with her listeners instantly.

We are thrilled Karen will be joining this powerful conversation as our moderator!

Research Presenter – Dr. Meredith Anderson, UNCF

Meredith Anderson, Ph.D., is a Director of K-12 Research at the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI). She supports the K-12 research endeavors of the advocacy team and FDPRI through design and management of empirical research projects related to K-12 education reform for African American students.

Dr. Anderson will share key points from research on meaningful school safety & policing reform.

Research Presenter – Justin Ohlemiller, Stand for Children Indiana

In his role as Executive Director of Stand for Children Indiana, Justin brings a deep understanding of marketing and communications, an intimate knowledge of government and the city of Indianapolis, and a strong passion for education reform.

Justin will share recommendations from Indianapolis parents on school safety, gathered by Stand for Children Indiana.

Ready Stand for Children Indiana’s report on a parent vision for a more just and equitable IPS. See page 10 for recommendations for addressing discipline disparities and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Student Panelist – Manuel Salgado, VOICES

Manuel (“Manny”) Salgado was born in Chicago and moved to Indianapolis at the age of three. He lives on the southside of Indianapolis and has gone to public schools his whole life. He has attended schools with and without SROs and has a keen perspective on what hinders and enhances youth growth. As a VOICES youth leader, he has been able to leverage his experiences of inequity and systems-involvement to advocate for change within the juvenile justice system. He has been a youth consultant for VOICES work with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice which seeks to improve nationwide policy and practice. He also works on the VOICES documentary project, Breaking Up The Concrete, which is funded by Indiana Humanities and will be promoted publicly this fall.

VOICES Panelist – Jasmin Tucker

Jasmine Tucker was born and raised in Indianapolis. She experienced an unwelcoming school environment and inequitable disciplinary practices that led to her being one of the first VOICES mentees and eventually youth leaders. This experience enabled her to access the resources, relationships, and school environment she needed to thrive. In pursuit of her goals to support and inspire youth facing systemic barriers to success, she completed high school at age 16 and recently earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from IUPUI.

She currently serves her community as a Case Investigator for the Indiana State Department of Health and as a member of the VOICES Power & Promise Youth Leaders.

Parent Panelist – Sashah Fletcher, Stand for Children Indiana

Sashah Fletcher is a wife and parent of two boys, 13 and 24. She is also the grandparent of 4. She has been involved as a Stand for Children Indiana Parent Fellow to develop her knowledge and leadership skills as an education advocate.

In this volunteer work, Sashah had lead as work to drive the conversation between community stakeholders and leaders to advocate for of equity for all students, which includes her own. Sashah will share the perspective of a local parent on this important issue.

District Panelist – Tonia Guynn, Indianapolis Public Schools

Tonia Y. Guynn is Police Chief at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), where she has devoted 32 years to the safety of students and the Indianapolis Public Schools community. Tonia began her career with the IPS Police Department in 1988, working as a part time dispatcher. After serving five years as a part time dispatcher, her inner voice said, “Do what you need to do, to serve the district hands on”. She then decided to apply to become a School Police Officer. She received her Certificate of Completion from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1994. As Tonia rose through the ranks, she also held the titles of Sergeant and Captain. In July 2019, Tonia became the first female to hold the title of Chief of Indianapolis Public Schools Police Department. 

A message dear to her heart…all children come first!

Conversation Community Partners

VOICES | For over a decade, VOICES has leveraged their expertise in juvenile justice, social work, and education to meet the needs of over 2,000 youth and families from 36 different zip codes across Marion County—all of whom are from low-income backgrounds and a vast majority of whom are individuals of color. Through research-based practices and healing-centered engagement VOICES heals, educates, and trains youth and families, who have not yet been able to achieve economic self-sufficiency and holistic wellness, so that they can lead lives of choice and thrive. 

VOICES has built local, state, and national partners such that VOICES youth regularly: 1) advocate for policy- and systems- change to center on the experiences of Black and brown youth and families and all people who experience poverty; 2) train educators, probation officers, and other service-providing professionals to understand and disrupt systemic racism; and 3) garner the internships and job placements they need to achieve economic stability and lead self-determined lives. Learn more about their work at voicescorp.org.

Stand for Children Indiana | Stand for Children is a non-profit education advocacy organization focused on ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability. 

Stand for Children has nearly two decades of experience working with parents, communities, and partner organizations toward the common goal of improving student outcomes. Stand has been in Indiana since 2011 advocating for effective education policies at the state and local level, helping to elect education champions and empowering parents by giving them the tools and skills to ensure their child graduates from high school college or career-ready. See what they do to accomplish education advocacy from the classroom to the state capitol.

UNCF | “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® For more than seven decades, this principle has remained at the heart of UNCF, enabling us to raise more than $5 billion and help more than 500,000 students and counting not just attend college, but thrive, graduate and become leaders.

UNCF does this in three ways: By awarding more than 10,000 students scholarships, worth more than $100 million, each year. By providing financial support to 37 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). And by serving as the nation’s leading advocate for the importance of minority education and community engagement. Learn more at uncf.org.

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student in Indianapolis, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 38 schools, 14 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,600 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.