Baltimore County is about to launch a schoolwide, minority male mentoring program. Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance said the goal is to reach young men of color at risk of failing.

Many Black and Hispanic male students in Baltimore County schools need help navigating their way to a high school diploma. That’s why school officials are launching a minority male mentoring program, according to WBAL-TV.

“In grades seven to 12, 40 percent of our African-American students, male students in general, and 31 percent of our Hispanic males have been suspended, compared to 23 percent of their white male counterparts,” Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance highlighted at a luncheon with community stakeholders and educators, WBAL-TV reports.

The news station said some educators at the event expressed support:

“He talked about the mentoring program that we all know is so needed. I’m excited to see where that’s going to go and how we help these kids,” stated teacher Rachel Pfister.

The superintendent underscored that the program requires public and private funding to get off the ground. WBAL-TV reported that local taxpayers are contributing almost $500 million.

Baltimore County’s business community supported student programs in the past, and Dance hopes they continue to pitch in.

Commenting after the announcement, businessman Leon Hobson gave a thumbs-up to the mentoring program and told WBAL-TV:

“That’s a major thing, that’s very important, absolutely, because we need to have a little bit more of that, so I was very excited to see that happen.”

Dance also announced a plan to assist the influx of English-learner students–about 5,000 of them since 2006. The school district is considering plans to establish a high school for them that focuses on college and career preparation.

SOURCE: WBAL-TV | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform

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