Dignity in Schools Campaign Listserv
In This Issue
L.A. Police Survey
DSC Conference Video and Materials
New Resources from Around the Web
About the DSC

Upcoming DSC Events

October 23, 2009
ABA Summit

Raising our Hands: Creating a National Strategy for Children's Right to Education and Counsel
Co-sponsorship by DSC is anticipated

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   July 2009
Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first Dignity in Schools Campaign National Conference on June 5-6, 2009 in Chicago, IL.  If you missed the conference, you can watch video of the panel presentations and access conference materials on our website.  Read more about the conference below.

DSC Los Angeles Chapter
Help Collect Data on Law Enforcement in Los Angeles Public Schools

policeofficerThe Los Angeles Chapter of the Dignity in Schools Campaign (LA-DSC) is  seeking your help on a project to collect data about law enforcement intervention in LAUSD schools.  In our advocacy and organizing work we have found that law enforcement intervention is frequently used as a response to school disciplinary matters. We need to document this practice throughout the Los Angeles district in order to effectively push for a protocol defining when law enforcement intervention is appropriate in school disciplinary matters.
We are asking advocates who work with youth in Los Angeles to fill out a survey for LAUSD students who, during the 2008-2009 school year, were accused of school disciplinary violations and law enforcement intervention resulted. Our goal is to collect twenty surveys from every LAUSD local district by the end of August.

Take the survey on-line or email Ruth Cusick to receive a copy of the survey in Word format to distribute.

First DSC National Conference Held June 5-6, 2009
panelA Collective Voice for Dignity in Schools

On June 5 and 6, 2009, 150 advocates, organizers, youth, parents and educators from 20 states around the country came together in Chicago to discuss positive alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline and school pushout.  The goal of the conference was to reframe the national dialogue on school climate and discipline within a human rights framework and to affirm that the human right to an education includes:

    * the full development of the child;
    * the protection of human dignity;
    * freedom from discrimination; and
    * the right to participation of parents, students, and educators.

At the conference, participants discussed policies and practices that promote dignity in schools, shared successful advocacy, organizing, legal and media strategies being used on the ground, and generated ideas for national mobilization.

The Dignity in Schools Campaign is now working with conference participants to finalize a National Resolution on Ending School Pushout that was drafted at the conference. On our website you can access:
  • Videos of the complete Keynote and Plenary Panel presentations from the conference
  • Conference materials, including Powerpoint Presentations and handouts from speakers
  • On-line photo gallery of the conference

New Resources from Around the Web
ActionKitNew Website and Action Kit on Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track

The Advancement Project recently launched StopSchoolsToJails.org, a new website devoted to assisting grassroots efforts to eliminate the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track.  The website includes:
  • Summaries of successful campaigns around the country to address the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track;
  • Model Discipline Policies;
  • Model Alternative Programs
  • Sample Talking Points; and more!
The Advancement Project also released an Action Kit on Mapping and Analyzing the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track with tips and sample materials for collecting information and data about school discipline policies and practices; analyzing and organizing the data; and developing messages that resonate with your audience.

New Report - Safety with Dignity: Alternatives to the Over-Policing of Schools

safetywithdignityThis report from the New York Civil Liberties Union, The Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and Make the Road New York highlights the success of school disciplinary policies that provide positive alternatives to over-policing, zero tolerance methods, and the use of metal detectors.

The report features six schools in New York City with approaches "that are successfully maintaining safety while simultaneously promoting a nurturing school environment." 

Research Findings and Video on Restorative Practices

hopevideoTwo new resources are available on-line from the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP).

The video, The Transformation of West Philadelphia High School: A Story of Hope, documents the vast improvements in climate and behavior at West Philadelphia High School after the school began using restorative practices.

The IIRP also released the report, Improving School Climate: Findings from Schools Implementing Restorative Practices.  The report presents disciplinary and other data from U.S., Canadian and British schools that have implemented restorative practices.

New Report - Reclaiming Michigan's Throwaway Kids: Students Trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline

michiganreportThis report from the ACLU of Michigan documents a trend amongst school districts to enforce severe disciplinary policies and practices that push children permanently out of the classroom without regard for the long-term impact.

The report documents disproportionate disciplinary practices towards African American students, and offers realistic recommendations to combat problem, including amending Michigan's expulsion law and implementing alternatives to suspension and expulsion, including restorative practices.

About the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)
The Dignity in Schools Campaign is a national coalition of advocates, community-based organizations, educators, lawyers and policymakers working together to seek human rights-based solutions to the systemic problem of pushout in U.S. schools.

Visit the website to learn about membership and get involved in the campaign. The DSC has a Core Group that oversees the project, Working Group Members that help shape our work and participate in our ongoing projects, and Allied Organizations that believe in and support the campaign.

Core Group Members:
  • Sarah Biehl, Ohio Poverty Law Center
  • Matthew Cregor, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Rosa Hirji, Children's Rights Litigation Committee, American Bar Association
  • Anna Lambertson, Advocate, Colorado
  • Monica Llorente, Advocate, Chicago, IL
  • Liz Sullivan, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
  • Lori Turner, ACLU of Illinois