Senate Hearing - A Big Day for the Movement to End School Pushout

Yesterday was a historic day for the Dignity in Schools Campaign and our allies in the fight to end school pushout and ensure the human right to education for all students. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights convened the first-ever hearing on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, packing the hearing and overflow room with over 400 attendees, about 130 of which were DSC members. Visit our flickr page for photos!

Edward Ward of DSC member group Blocks Together in Chicago was selected to testify before the committee. You can watch video of his powerful testimony here, (and read his statement here) describing the impact of zero-tolerance policies on his peers and highlighting positive alternatives such as Restorative Justice. You can also view the entire hearing here.

Other DSC member groups also submitted testimony to the written record for the hearing, which you can still submit via email until December 19 to [email protected] (please cc [email protected]). Visit our website for the compiled testimonies we have received so far, and please send us your testimony so that we can add it.

DSC Members from Around the Country Traveled to the Hearing

Whether it was by bus, plane, train or automobile, DSC members from 9 states (AL, GA, IL, MS, MA, LA, PA, NJ, NY) made the trip to DC to attend the hearing, including over 50 young people from New York City with Make the Road NY and Sistas and Brothas United.

Several DSC member groups who came for the hearing from Mississippi, Illinois and New Jersey took the opportunity to drop-in on Senators and Representatives from their home states to share DSC’s priorities and federal solutions to school pushout.

The hearing yesterday represents a step forward for our movement to end school pushout, and it was made possible by the decades-long leadership on this issue from DSC member groups and allies. We are grateful to Senator Durbin (IL) for convening this hearing and drawing much needed attention to the realities many students face every day. We strongly agree with his statement from yesterday: “We need to change the culture of zero tolerance in schools and find better ways to discipline our students”.

We look forward to our continued work together!

DSC member groups in attendance:

Southern Poverty Law Center, AL
Advocates for Justice in Education, DC
Gwinnett STOPP, GA
Blocks Together, IL
Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, LA
BSAC/Youth on Board, MA
Boston Parent Organizing Network, MA
Boston Youth Organizing Project, MA
Action Communication and Education Reform (ACER), MS
Citizens for a Better Greenville, MS
Citizens for Educational Awareness, MS
Fannie Lou Hamer Center for Change, MS
Mississippi Delta Catalyst Roundtable, MS
Nollie Jenkins Family Center, MS
Paterson Education Fund, NJ
Statewide Education Organizing Committee, NJ
Children’s Defense Fund-NY, NY
Center for Community Alternatives, NY
Make the Road New York, NY
Sistas and Brothas United, NY
ACLU of Pennsylvania, PA
Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under the Law
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

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There is still time to submit written testimony for the hearing record!

Organizations and individuals can still submit written testimony via email until Wednesday, December 19.

Click here to download a DSC template for testimonies.

To submit, email your testimony to [email protected] (please cc [email protected])


Some examples of media coverage so far:


Education Week

Washington Post

Al Jazeera


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 | [email protected]