Dear friends,

Happy 2012 to you all!

This e-mail features new resources from member groups, links to video footage from a community forum on school pushout featuring members of DSC-Louisiana, information about DSC's Coordinating Committee, and education news from around the country.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like to get involved by writing to You can also visit the Dignity in Schools Campaign on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Best wishes,

Dignity in Schools Campaign

Member Groups Spotlight

Project NIA

On Wednesday, January 25, Project NIA, a youth advocacy, research, and capacity-building center from Chicago, IL released Policing Chicago Public Schools: A Gateway to the School-to-Prison-Pipeline, a new report on arrests in Chicago public schools. The report, which was co-authored by Mariame Kaba and Frank Edwards, is based on data collected from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and analyzes the type of offenses and the demographics (gender, age and race) of the juveniles arrested on CPS property during 2010.

The authors were limited to CPD data because all arrest reports are filed by each police district rather than by individual schools, and because a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request filed by First Defense Legal Aid with the Chicago Public Schools requesting school-level arrest data continues to go unfulfilled.

Some of the key findings in this report are:

  • There were 6,430 total arrests on Chicago Public School properties in 2010.
  • Black youth are disproportionately targeted by these arrests. While they represent only 45% of CPS students, Black youth account for 74% percent of juvenile school-based arrests.
  • Certain police districts are more likely to arrest youth in schools than others. In particular, the highest aggregate numbers of juvenile school-based arrests are in the 4th, 6th, 8th, 22nd, and 5th police districts. Together these five districts account for 39% of total juvenile school-based arrests on CPS properties.

Click here to download and read more about the report.

Project NIA is now calling on Chicago aldermen to pass a student safety act similar to one in New York City that forces the school district to reveal the number of arrests, suspensions and expulsions per school every quarter.

Click here to read a Catalyst Chicago article about the report.

FFLIC (Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children)

As part of the American Graduate Initiative, WYES, a PBS affiliate in New Orleans, LA, hosted "Let's Make it Happen," a community forum to discuss school pushout and possible solutions. Among the speakers was FFLIC (Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children) and DSC-Louisiana member Damekia Morgan who during the first segment provides a clear definition for school pushout and its implications when discussing the dropout problem.

Watch the first segment of the forum to see Damekia speak about school pushout:
Segment 1: What Is a Dropout?

Click here to watch the entire forum.

Campaign Update

In 2010 and 2011, the Dignity in Schools Campaign began a planning process to develop the membership and decision-making structures of the campaign. The DSC Interim Core Group, made up of organizations and individuals from around the country, helped steward this planning process, and has now transitioned into a new Coordinating Committee. In January 2012, as part of this transition, several members of the Interim Core Group stepped down from this role, but continue to be involved in the campaign. We want to thank them for their many years of work to support and help grow the DSC!

Thank you to Sarah Biehl, Anna Lambertson, Monica Llorente, David Payne and Lori Turner! These former Core Group members would like to share their positive vision for where DSC will go in the future:

Sarah Biehl - "I hope for DSC to be a place where advocates, organizers, community members, educators, etc. can all come together, not judge or assume, and learn from and support each other. We've made tremendous progress toward making this happen, and I'm confident we're moving in the right direction. I also think DSC is moving toward being the pre-eminent national source of information, analysis, and tools on school pushout, the school to prison pipeline, and school discipline reform. Our mission/message is strong and resonates powerfully and its influence and impact will only continue to grow!"

Anna Lambertson - "I look forward to watching the DSC continue to strengthen its geographical representation across the country and become a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully we can play a role in making education a human right in the United States. I am excited about what the future may hold!"

Monica Llorente - "I envision a powerful DSC guided and truly led by the students who have been pushed out of school and their families. I hope that we all continue to take the time to get to know and understand each other, so that we can figure out how we can best work together in implementing real solutions. Together, we can prove to people across the country that it is possible to have a public education system that provides the same quality of education to every student (regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic class, or any other factor), and that we must continuously strive for this, since it is our duty to provide every student with their human right to a quality education."

David Payne - "My one wish is that those who are most affected will fully be empowered to lead DSC at every level of the campaign. I hope that as we grow, we create a space for the next group of new leaders to shine."

Lori Turner - "My hope for DSC is that it continues to evolve and expand so that students, families and advocates in communities all over the country have a local resource to help them fight against unfair policies and practices that keep kids out of the classroom where they belong."

Read more about the DSC Interim Core Group and Coordinating Committee

Later this year we will hold an election and selection process to recruit additional DSC member groups to join the Coordinating Committee.

In The News

Youth Advocates Want More Data on School Arrests
by Sarah Karp (Catalyst Chicago, January, 25, 2012)
"Of the 27,000 juveniles arrested in Chicago in 2010, a fifth of them were taken into custody at school. More than two-thirds of those arrested were black and 75 percent were male. A youth advocacy group is calling on Chicago aldermen to pass a student safety act similar to one in New York City that forces the school district to reveal the number of arrests, suspensions and expulsions per school every quarter."
Read more

State Wants To Curb Student Suspensions
by Liz Bowie (Baltimore Sun, January 24, 2012)
"Baltimore County reported the highest suspension rate of any Maryland district apart from the Eastern Shore in the last school year. Concerned about the high numbers of student suspensions, state school board members are proposing an overhaul of discipline codes that would move away from zero-tolerance policies. School board President James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr. said Tuesday that the board will propose a series of regulations next month that will require school districts to form a plan to reduce nonviolent offenses in the next three years as well as the number of suspensions of special education and minority students."
Read more

Better School Discipline
by Jason Langberg (Op-Ed, News Observer, January 23, 2012)
"It's a new year and an opportunity for a fresh start in the Wake County Public School System. Now is the time to join together with a renewed focus on student achievement - and to improve student achievement we must address school discipline, as the two are inextricably linked. Last year, positive changes alleviated the school system's discipline crisis, including additional seats at Mary Phillips High School, revisions to the Code of Conduct and the creation of Alternative Learning Centers. However, thousands upon thousands of students - disproportionately male students, black students and students with disabilities - are still being pushed out of schools and onto a path toward poverty and prison."
Read more

Where's Education in the Republican Candidates' Slugfest?
by Annette Fuentes (Huffington Post, January 21, 2012)
"With No Child Left Behind being overhauled and nationwide school testing scandals and teacher accountability measures in the news, K-12 public schooling is an issue that many care about deeply. So, as a public service, here is a brief synopsis of the education platforms, such as they are, of the Republican candidates, gleaned from their official Web sites and news reports."
Read more

Pushed Out?: How Some Students Allegedly End Up Leaving Public Schools
By Neena Satija (WNPR, January 18, 2012)
"Thousands of public school students in Connecticut don’t get their diplomas each year, but only some are called “dropouts.” So what happens to the others? In the first of a three-part series, WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on how kids leave the school system without officially “dropping out."
Read more

Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Editorial (Rethinking Schools, January 9, 2012)
"The school-to-prison pipeline begins in deep social and economic inequalities, and has taken root in the historic shortcomings of schooling in this country. The civil and human rights movements of the 1960s and ’70s spurred an effort to “rethink schools” to make them responsive to the needs of all students, their families, and communities. This rethinking included collaborative learning environments, multicultural curriculum, student-centered, experiential pedagogy—we were aiming for education as liberation. The back-to-basics backlash against that struggle has been more rigid enforcement of ever more alienating curriculum."
Read more

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DSC Media Outreach/Communications Webinars
Media Outreach 101, Part 2
Thursday, February 16, 2012: 4-5:00pm PT/ 5-6:00pm MT/6-7:00pm CT/7-8:00pm ET
This second installment of the Media Outreach 101 focuses on messaging and on building a long-term media outreach strategy for your organization or campaign. It includes tips on establishing long-term relationships with your local media and framing your message according to different audiences and goals.
Click here to register.

Organizing Through Social Media
Thursday, April 12, 2012: 4-5:00pm PT/ 5-6:00pm MT/6-7:00pm CT/7:00pm-8:00pm ET
Using new media/social media as a campaign advocacy tool. How to use your website, e-mail blasts, facebook, twitter and youtube to reach out to an audience, strengthen a campaign, and generate online buzz.
Click here to register.

2012 School-to-Prison-Pipeline Regional Action Camps
Presented by Advancement Project in partnership with AEJ, DSC, Labor/Community Strategy Center, Padres & Jovenes Unidos, Youth United for Change and other local partners.

Western Region - Los Angeles, CA February 10-12
Southern Region - Raleigh/Durham, NC March 2-4
Midwestern Region - Chicago, IL April 13-15
Northeastern Region - New York, NY June 1-3

The overuse of harsh zero-tolerance measures, police, and juvenile courts in addressing school disciplinary issues has led to the needless pushout and criminalization of countless youth across America. In response, a growing national movement has emerged to dismantle this School-to-Prison-Pipeline. This grassroots-led effort has already achieved important victories, and the momentum for change is building, but there is much more to be done.

Join with youth and adult advocates from across the country at one of the 2012 School-to-Prison-Pipeline Regional Action Camps.
Click here to find out more!


Policing Chicago Public Schools: A Gateway to the School-to-Prison-Pipeline
Project NIA is pleased to announce the release of a new report co-authored by Mariame Kaba and Frank Edwards. The report relies on data from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to show the types of offenses and demographics of the students arrested on Chicago Public Schools properties in calendar year 2010.
Click here to download.

Invisible Students: The Role of Alternative and Adult Education in Connecticut's School-to-Prison Pipeline
This new report by CTPROP (Connecticut Pushout Research & Organizing Project) documents how thousands of vulnerable Connecticut teens have been counseled, coerced or involuntarily removed from mainstream high schools often through illegal practices that take advantage of loopholes in current accountability standards. Students who are trapped in this "secret pipeline" often land at alternative and adult education programs which accelerate the likelihood that youth will become entangled in the justice system.

Click here to download.

About the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)

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

Visit us at to learn more.

DIGNITY IN SCHOOLS | 90 JOHN ST. STE 308, NEW YORK, NY 10038 | TEL: (212) 253-1710 Ext. 317 | FAX (212) 385-6124 |