Martin Luther King Junior Charter High School will implement its new Criminal Justice Academy next month.

The academy was made possible by a $55,000 youth workforce development grant from the Lower 9th Ward Economic Development District. 

“The start of it is going to be focused on preparing kids to work for the city and the police department,” said Lindsey Moore, principal of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Charter School. “We feel that there’s a definite need, I think everyone would agree upon that, and to make education more meaningful.”

Students enrolled in the academy will receive dual enrollment credit from Southern University at New Orleans.

The program aims to teach students about different career paths within the criminal justice system which, according to Moore, will also be beneficial for the community.

“More kids will return back to school, and, also, they get a different aspect and view of the police department and the work they do,” explained Principal Moore.

Lower 9th Ward Economic Development District board member Reverend Willie Calhoun helped bring the program to fruition.

“We all are aware the fact that we got a real crime issue with our juveniles, so getting involved with the criminal justice system before the system gets involved with them is crucial,” said Rev. Calhoun.

The board member says the criminal justice academy pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by encouraging students to get involved within their community.

“Getting an understanding and getting them early involved in the system as to what this is all about, what criminal justice is, and, again, giving them the opportunity to explore the career fields that are in the criminal justice system,” said Calhoun.

Program leaders will host two informational meetings for parents and students who want to learn more about the academy.

The meetings have not yet been set, but we will provide that information as soon as it’s made available.

The program is set to start Feb. 1.