2020 - COLORADO
Jhoni Palmer is a senior at Denver East High School in Colorado. Jhoni serves as an executive leader in the Denver Public Schools' Student Voice and Leadership Coalition (SVLC). Within the SVLC, she is the executive director of the Young African-American and Latinx Leaders (YAALL), a student-led grassroots organization that works to address the inequities present in the Denver Public School District and to ultimately dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. In response to the handcuffing of students in schools, Jhoni and a collection of other student leaders wrote and proposed a policy resolution that limited the use of handcuffs in Denver Public Schools after realizing how policing in schools, including the use of handcuffs, disproportionately affected students of color. The policy Jhoni and her team outlined limits subjective and excessive force when using mechanical restraints, restricts the age of detainment of students to high school and offers alternatives to ultimately eradicate the use of handcuffs/mechanical restraints inside the Denver Public School District. This policy was presented to the board of education and was passed for implementation, which ultimately ensures the longevity of Jhoni's and her team's work. Since the policy implementation approval, there have been no cases of handcuff use in Jhoni's district. As a result, Jhoni has been inspired to seek a career in policy analysis and implementation and hopes to further foster and understand the ins and outs of policy as it relates to race relations.