Action Alert: Contact Your Senators To Urge Them Not to Support Funding for Police in Schools
The U.S. Senate is considering new gun violence legislation. Thanks in part to DSC members' advocacy on Capitol Hill and at home the package of bills the Senate plans to debate does not include funding for more School Resource Officers (SROs). We want to keep it that way, unfortunately we expect the introduction and support of amendments that call for more SROs. If you have not yet contacted your Senator please take action today, and throughout the week, by calling your Senators to urge them not to support any amendment that would provide more funding for SROs.
Click here for a suggested call-script and to find contact information for your Senator.
Webinar on the DSC Model Code: School Policing
Join us on Monday, April 29 at 4:00 p.m. ET for the third in a series of webinars on the Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity. This webinar will focus on school policing and avoiding criminalization of students. We will focus on Section 3.2.a of the code which provides guidelines for minimizing the role of law enforcement in schools, including School Resources Officers, police, security guards and other law enforcement personnel, and to work towards eliminating their role in the future. We will also be joined by DSC members from LA and Oakland who will share about their own successes and challenges in reforming law enforcement presence in schools.
Click here to register.
You Can't Build Peace With A Piece
In February, a coalition of organizations led by youth of color, including Youth Justice Coalition and other members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, launched "You Can't Build Peace With a Piece" a national campaign to call for positive approaches in response to gun violence and address the impact of school safety policies on youth of color in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. They created a Facebook Group to spread the word, share content, resources, and to collaborate on a series of events which took place during February, March, and during the April Fools' Week of Action.
During the first week of April, the youth-led campaign held an April Fools' Week of Action with a series of events in California, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, and Washington, D.C. supported by allies from national groups such as the Dignity in Schools Campaign, Alliance for Educational Justice, Advancement Project, NAACP-Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU.
Click here to read about some of the actions and events that took place during the April Fools Week of Action.
You Can't Build Peace With a Piece doesn't end here!
Young people around the country continue to organize and work together. You can support the campaign:
Member Group Spotlight
DSC New York, Mayoral Candidates and Elected Officials Demand End to Racial Disparities in School Discipline
On Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 11 AM, New York City Democratic mayoral candidates John Liu, Bill Thompson, leaders from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and citywide elected officials stood with students, parents and teachers on the steps of New York’s City Hall to call for an end to racial disparities in school suspensions and arrests. The press conference, brought together by the Dignity in Schools Campaign- NY (DSC-NY), and joined by the citywide coalition New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, called on the next Mayor to end the racial disparities by implementing positive approaches to discipline like Restorative Justice programs, keeping young people in the classroom and out of the streets and the juvenile justice system.
FFLIC to Launch 50/2017 Campaign: Building a Movement To Stop the School To Prison Pipeline
On Saturday, April 20, 2013, Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a DSC Coordinating Committee member, is launching its 50/2017 Campaign: Building a Movement to Stop the School to Prison Pipeline.
The campaign seeks to empower parents by providing them with the tools, information and skills to become effective community leaders and advocates for their children. These parents will help create safer and more welcoming schools by challenging the policies that push young people out of school and into the streets and the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
The launch will take place on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 12:45 p.m. in the Lindy Boggs Center at the University of New Orleans.
Speakers include: Judith Brown Dianis, Co-Director of the Advancement Project; Connie Walton, FFLIC parent; Damekia Morgan, parent; Dana Kaplan, Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana; and Fernando Martinez, Dignity in Schools Campaign. The launch will also include a video presentation by Melissa Harris- Perry, author, professor and host of the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.
Click here to learn more about the 50/2017 Campaign.
In The News
Students, Officials Condemn School-to-Prison Pipeline in NYC
Democracy Now, 04/16/13
"A group of New York City students, organizers and officials gathered Monday to condemn the school-to-prison pipeline they say is funneling students of color into the criminal justice system. Members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign have drawn attention to the disproportionate number of suspensions and arrests of African-American and Latino students as well as harsh penalties against students with disabilities. In the last school year, 52 percent of suspensions involved African-American students, who make up just 27 percent of the public school system. Democracy Now! spoke with 15-year-old youth leader Manny Yusuf."
Democratic Candidates Criticize Disciplining of City’s Students
by Javier C. Hernandez (City Room - New York Times, 04/16/13)
"Four Democratic candidates for mayor on Monday used such terms to denounce elements of student discipline in New York City’s schools, saying black and Latino students’ suspensions were disproportionately high and principals imposed unnecessarily harsh penalties on students with disabilities. 'We’re suspending students far too often,' Mr. Thompson, who was the Democratic nominee for mayor in 2009, said at a City Hall news conference organized by Dignity in Schools, an advocacy group.”
D.C. Students Use Photography to Protest School Security
by Annie Gowen (Washington Post, 04/04/13)
"The small band of guerrilla photographers spread out in schools across the District, snapping photos of metal detectors, police pat-downs, and scuffles between security guards and students. The dozen or so teens, who hail from some of the area’s most troubled neighborhoods, are trying to document the kind of school security issues that have taken center stage in the wake of the Newtown shootings."
Do Cops With Guns Mean Safer Schools?
by Eliza Shpairo (The Daily Beast, 04/02/13)
"Leslie Mendoza, now 17, says she felt like she was entering a prison every time she entered her magnet public high school in Los Angeles. Police would even search students’ backpacks and pockets when they came to school late. 'That was one of the things that made me not want to go to school anymore,' she says. She dropped out of high school when she was 15, though she eventually earned her degree at another school. 'At our school we don’t allow any police in without a warrant,' she says."
Webinar on the DSC Model Code: School Policing
Monday, April 29, 2013 - 4:00pm ET
Join us for the third in a series of webinars on the Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity. The Code is based on the best practices, research and experiences of students, parents, educators and advocates from around the country, and provides a human rights-based framework for education, with specific recommended language that schools and districts can adopt to stop school pushout and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
Click here for more information and to register.
School-to-Prison Pipeline Actions Camps - Advancement Project
New Orleans, LA: April 19-21, 2013
Denver, CO: June 28-30, 2013
Click here to find out more!
Out of School and Off Track: The Overuse of Suspensions in American Middle and High Schools
This new report by Daniel Losen and Tia Elena Martinez of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, is the first of its kind with a breakdown of data from over 26,000 U.S. middle and high schools. The researchers estimated that well over two million students were suspended during the 2009-2010 academic year. This means that one out of every nine secondary school students was suspended at least once during that year. As other studies demonstrate, the vast majority of suspensions are for minor infractions of school rules, such as disrupting class, tardiness, and dress code violations, rather than for serious violent or criminal behavior.
Click here to learn more and download the full 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.