Dr. Tylon Crook recently presented at the Northwest Region of the Mississippi Counseling Association Fall Workshop at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. Dr. Crook’s presentation was entitled, Halting the School-to-prison Pipeline among African American Boys: Strategies for Professional Counselors, and emphasized the family, community, and school factors that contributed to the rise of this important social justice issue. Dr. Crook provided a detailed account of how African American students, students from lower social-economic families, and students with known learning disabilities are statistically more likely to enter the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems as a result of recent shifts in educational practices such as zero tolerance policies and school-stationed police officers. These practices, that were originally intended to reduce violence in schools and foster a safe learning environment, have had the inadvertent effect of increasing the criminalization of youth in schools. Additionally, the school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects African American and Latino students. Dr. Crook provided a variety of strategies to halt these disturbing trends to his fellow counseling practitioners.
Dr. Crook believes strongly in participating in professional development opportunities such as those provided through the Mississippi Counseling Association. He stated that professional associations provide, “individuals with the opportunity to strengthen their professional identities by collaborating and interacting with others from within their profession.” He went on to say, “it is imperative for school counselors to participate in workshops such as this in order to continue their development with regard to multicultural competence.”
Dr. Crook, along with his colleague, Dr. Heath Stevens, make up the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science School Counseling Department. Together, they provide comprehensive development counseling to all MSMS students to ensure students are high achieving and high performing learners who graduate prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens specialize in providing social/emotional counseling, academic counseling, college planning, career development, and test preparation services. By participating in a wide variety of professional development opportunities, Dr. Crook and Dr. Stevens continue to advance the MSMS Counseling Department to reflect current best practices.