National Week of Action on School Pushout:
September 29 - October 6, 2012
The 3rd Annual National Week of Action on School Pushout took place during the week of September 29 to October 6, 2012. This year's theme was "Pushout Rates Are Scary: Over 3 Million Students Are Suspended Out-of-School Each Year."
Throughout the week, thousands of parents, students, educators and education advocates took part in parent and student-led actions and events around the country to expose the school pushout crisis and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.
This year's Week of Action followed the launch of the Solutions Not Suspensions initiative, a call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions, which we launched with the Opportunity to Learn Campaign at a press conference in Los Angeles, CA on August 21, 2012.
Roundup of Local Events During the 2012 Week of Action
Saturday, September 29
The Week of Action kicked off on Saturday with a zombie flash mob and rally (click on links for videos) led by Blocks Together and Access Living's Advanced Youth Leadership Power in Chicago, IL, and a parent training on alternative discipline in Valdosta, GA, led by Gwinnett SToPP.
Tuesday, October 2
On Saturday in Mississippi the Fannie Lou Hamer Center for Change facilitated a parent and youth workshop in Eupora, and Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable hosted “Support Students, Not Suspend Them” a community discussion and legislative forum in Greenville. In New Jersey, Paterson Education Fund held a student-led march and rally at the steps of the Federal Building in Paterson and the Statewide Education Organizing Committee held a rally in Jersey City.
Gwinnett SToPP, ACLU of GA, and Softer Touch held "A Haunted Education", a museum walk and rally at the Lawrenceville Historic Square in Lawrenceville, GA. That same day, in New Orleans, Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) hosted a screening of the documentary “What Will It Take to Stop the School to Prison Pipeline?” and a meeting where parents, students, community activists and stakeholders discussed the pushout crisis in Louisiana. The Dignity in Schools Campaign Los Angeles Chapter (DSC-LA) also held the first of three workshops during the Week of Action, this one a human rights training and a discussion on the moratorium on out-of-school suspensions.
Thursday, October 4
Power U Center for Social Change of Miami, Florida held a rally to call for an end to out-of-school suspensions and in California, DSC-LA hosted a forum on school pushout and an introduction to the DSC Model Code in the San Fernando Valley. Also on Thursday, the Boston Student Advisory Council/Youth on Board hosted a Listening Project at four different train stations in Boston, MA where youth leaders interviewed hundreds of students about their experiences with school discipline. In Detroit, Michigan, students at Osborn High School together with the ACLU of Michigan launched the “Grads not Inmates” campaign with a rally.
Friday, October 5
Chicago-based parent-led community organization POWER-PAC held their first quarterly membership meeting of the school year to locally launch the Model Code and call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. In New York, over 200 students, parents, teachers and community members joined DSC New York for a candlelight vigil and march across the Brooklyn Bridge carrying life-size cut outs of students, representing the 260 students suspended every day in New York City public schools. Throughout the Week of Action, the NYCLU also distributed over 3,000 Know Your Rights cards to students at ten different NYC public schools.
Saturday, October 6
On the final Saturday, Portland Parent Union held a Restorative Listening Dialogue to share experiences about suspensions among students, parents and school principals, and discuss restorative practices as an alternative. DSC-LA hosted Health Happens in Schools, a forum on creating positive school environments, parent participation in schools, and academic success.
Updates on National Activities during the Week of Action
In Raleigh, NC multicultural youth organization NC H.E.A.T. held a march from Washington GT Magnet Elementary School to Central Prison to raise awareness about the school to prison pipeline and policies that lead to school pushout. Meanwhile, in Delavan, WI, during the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY) Midwest Regional Conference, the DSC and Blocks Together facilitated a workshop titled "Solutions Not Suspensions" to discuss the school to prison pipeline problem and walk through the DSC Model Code as a solution.
During the Week of Action, DSC continued to engage federal and local policy-makers to call for positive approaches to discipline and greater accountability in providing disciplinary data. On October 5, DSC submitted a letter to the Obama Administration calling for a focus on school climate and discipline as part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. DSC members also began a coordinated effort to submit Open Records Requests to their local school districts at the same time that districts are required to submit data this fall to the federal government for the bi-annual Civil Rights Data Collection. DSC also sent a letter to the Office for Civil Rights calling for more accurate data collection from districts. To learn about filing Open Records Requests in your community email Judith@nesri.org.
To build awareness and support implementation of the DSC Model Code on Education and Dignity, we held a webinar on October 2 attended by nearly 100 community members, policy-makers and advocates from around the country to provide an overview of the Code. This fall we will begin a series of more in-depth webinars on specific topics in the Code. You can download the powerpoint from this first webinar here.
Although the 2012 Week of Action is now officially over, you can continue to raise awareness and take action to end school pushout in your community!
Sign-on to our Call for a Moratorium on Out of School Suspensions
Over 3 million students are suspended out of school each year contributing to pushout across the country. The Dignity in Schools Campaign and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign launched the Solutions Not Suspensions Initiative to call for a nationwide moratorium on out-of-school suspensions.
- Visit the Solutions Not Suspensions website, sign the pledge for the moratorium and share with others!
Share Alternatives to Suspension with Members of Your Community
The Dignity in Schools Campaign created a Model Code on Education and Dignity, a set of recommended policies that communities, schools, districts and states can implement to stop out-of-school suspensions and school pushout. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about holding workshops on the Model Code in your community and sharing the Code with policy-makers.
Visit - http://www.dignityinschools.org/our-work/model-school-code to download the Model Code.
News Coverage of the 2012 National Week of Action on School Pushout
10/10/12 - Makers and Takers: Obama, justice and Carolyn King's Legacy By Bob Geary, Opinion Column, IndyWeek (Raleigh, NC)
10/09/12 - Piden Freno a Expulsiones de Estudiantes Hispanos y Negros en Escuelas Publicas By David Ramirez, Huffington Post (New York, NY)
10/08/12 - Discipline in Schools By Julie Sabatier, Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland, OR)
10/07/12 - Triangle Students Speak Out About Suspensions Against Minorities News 14 Carolina (Raleigh, NC)
10/06/12 - Video: Jóvenes Abandonan Escuelas por Racismo (Spanish) By Hispan TV (Miami, FL)
10/06/12 - Video: Student Activists Call for High School Discipline Reform By Progress Illinois (Chicago, IL)
10/04/12 - Rally to Protest High Number of Suspensions in City Schools By Mary Frost, Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York, NY)
10/04/12 - Miami Students Rally Against Suspensions By Laura Isensee, Miami Herald (Miami, FL)
10/04/12 - Student Suspensions Increased 47-Percent at Paterson Schools By Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press (Paterson, NJ)
10/04/12 - Students, Parents, Advocates March for “Solutions Not Suspensions” By Andrea Watson, Austin Talks (Chicago, IL)
10/03/12 - Push for Alternatives By Cari Hachmann, The Portland Observer (Portland, OR)
10/02/12 - Portland Parents Union Holds ‘Restorative Listening Dialog’ on School Push-out The Skanner News (Portland, OR)
10/02/12 - Another Kind of Climate Change By Nirvi Shah, Education Week
10/01/12 - Student Activists Call for High School Discipline Reform By Brandon Campbell, Progress Illinois (Chicago, IL)
09/28/12 - Activists Concerned About School Suspensions Plan a Series of Events By Vanessa Romo, Southern California Public Radio (Los Angeles, CA)
Teleconference: Applying Disparate Impact in Civil Rights Complaints To Derail the School to Prison Pipeline
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Find out more and register.
Dignity in Schools Los Angeles Model Code Training - Los Angeles, CA
Tue, October 23, 2012 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Find out more.
Film Screening - Passport to the Future: Accessing Higher Education in an Era of Mass Incarceration.
Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Find out more and RSVP to attend.
DRUM 12th Anniversary Gala: Voices of Unity, Rhythms of Movement - New York
Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Find out more and to purchase tickets.
Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice
On September 10 2012, Justice for Families and research partner the DataCenter released Families Unlocking Futures: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice. This report offers first-of-its kind analysis that details how the juvenile justice system does more to feed the nation’s vast prison system than to deter or redirect young people from system involvement; and demonstrates the incredible damage the system causes to families and communities.
Click here to learn more and to download the Report.
A Model School Code on Education and Dignity
The Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The Code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential.
Click here to learn more and to download the Report.
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 www.dignityinschools.org to learn more.