DSC Member Updates
Portland Parent Union Celebrates Passage of Bill to Roll Back Zero-Tolerance Policies
Nollie Jenkins Family Center Launches Petition to School Board to End Paddling and Discontinue Use of Uniforms
Oregon - DSC member organization Portland Parent Union successfully pushed for the passage of a bill to reform school discipline and roll back 'zero-tolerance' policies in Oregon. On May 21, 2013, the Oregon legislature passed HB 2192-B, removing mandatory expulsion requirements from the state's school discipline statute. The new legislation will go into effect in July 2014.
Mississippi - Youth leaders with the Nollie Jenkins Family Center, a DSC member organization based in Holmes County have created an online petition asking the Holmes County School Board to end corporal punishment and discontinue the mandatory use of school uniforms.
The youth leaders cite the negative impacts of corporal punishment on the student population, their academic achievement and their relationships with teachers and school administrators, and the high cost and ineffectiveness of being forced to wear school uniforms. Students are commonly paddled and harshly punished for minor misbehaviors like wearing items of clothing that don't match the required uniform.
Click here to sign the petition
DSC Members Win Community Involvement in School Resource Officer Training for Wake County Schools
DSC-New York Speaks Out at School Discipline Code Hearing
North Carolina - On June 4, students with DSC member organizations NC HEAT/Youth Organizing Institute and the Education Justice Alliance, together with the Coalition of Concerned Parents of African American Youth, joined forces and attended the Wake County School Board meeting to address the overuse of harsh discipline practices and arrests at the hands of School Resource Officers (SROs). The “Consent Agenda” of the meeting included a renewal of the SRO contract, which funds the presence of the officers in Wake County High Schools.
Youth and community members packed the meeting and succeeded in pressuring the school board to move the SRO funding discussion to the “action” part of the agenda, adding more urgency and allowing for feedback from members of the community. While the funding for SROs was ultimately approved, the board recommended that there be community involvement in the upcoming SRO training scheduled for the month of August.
New York - Members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York, including students, parents, educators and advocates, challenged the newest proposed revisions to the 2013-2014 NYC Discipline Code, angered by the lack of significant changes to address the disproportionate suspension rate of students of color.
DSC-NY is calling for an end to suspensions for all minor misbehavior in Level 3 of the Code and an end to long-term suspensions of more than 10 days, along with new requirements for schools to use positive Guidance Interventions before suspensions. As is, the new draft of the Discipline Code lists 29 infractions in Levels 4 and 5 for which students can be suspended for 30 to 90 days.
Bay Area Organizations Form Northern California DSC Chapter
California - On Wednesday, May 15, DSC member The Black Organizing Project (BOP), an Oakland-based grassroots community organization, hosted a meeting with community and advocacy organizations to discuss the formation of a Bay Area chapter of the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC).
Representatives from Children’s Defense Fund, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Children Now, ACLU-Northern California, Public Counsel Law Center, Policy Link, and more, attended the meeting to lay the groundwork for the chapter.
As members of a DSC-Bay Area chapter, the organizations will work together as a regional entity of the national campaign to address the harsh school discipline policies that disproportionately impact black and brown students and end school pushout.
In The News
NYC Public High Schools Disciplinary Code Frustrates Parents and Students
Trudy Tomlinson and Craig D. Frazier, Amsterdam News, 6/13/13
"More than 100 members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY), a coalition of students, parents, teachers and education advocates, attended the Department of Education (DOE) public hearing on the discipline code on June 6. They demanded changes that would limit the use of suspensions and require that schools use more effective alternatives, such as peer mediation and restoration justice."
Schools Use Restorative Justice to Reduce Suspensions
Clare Noonan, California Health Report, 6/11/13
"The Los Angeles Board of Education, for instance, voted in May to make its district the first in the state to ban suspensions for “willful defiance.” The disciplinary term’s legal definition is vague but can include behavior such as refusing to remove a hat in school or cutting class."
Simplistic Quick Fixes Won't Stop the School to Prison Pipeline
John Thompson, Huffington Post, 06/11/13
"NPR's Wade Goodwyn in "Why Some Schools Want to Expel Suspensions," reported that Los Angeles schools banned suspensions for "willful defiance of authority." Goodwyn then left the impression that a single suspension often sets poor children of color down the path to educational failure. He asked Daniel Losen of the UCLA Civil Rights Project whether such a suspension could lead to a student dropping out. Losen replied that it is "associated" with a doubled risk of dropping out."
On Discipline Students Seek More Middle Ground
Yasmeen Khan, SchoolBook (New York Times), 06/07/13
"Although the public school discipline code lists a menu of possible guidance interventions — such as parent outreach, counseling or conflict resolution — none is required prior to suspension. Advocates and students told education officials Thursday night that the city needed to change its approach to discipline in the schools. Liz Sullivan, with the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and a part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, said too many students were suspended for relatively minor behavioral issues such as writing graffiti, or pushing another student. “We can’t wait another year while students continue to be suspended for these minor infractions,” she said.”
Student Summit Organizes for School Discipline Changes
Christina Cerruti, TC Daily Planet, 06/07/13
"About a hundred middle and high school students from the Twin Cities metro area gathered at the Solutions Not Suspensions summit at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs of the University of Minnesota on May 11. They came to share their experiences with discipline procedures in their classrooms and to discuss how they think disciplinary action should be in their schools.“We want to give them the tools that will allow them to have informed conversations with people in positions of power at their school about what the discipline at their school looks like and how to make it more equitable,” said Brandon Royce-Diop of the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP), who organized the event with his MMEP colleague Cymone Fuller."
Comparing Your Local Code of Conduct to the DSC Model Code
June 26, 2013
7 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. CT/ 5 p.m. MT/ 4 p.m. PT
Join DSC for a webinar to introduce new tools for comparing your local Code of Conduct to the DSC Model Code. Please RSVP to Natalie Chap to join the webinar, and click here to view the Model Code Comparison Tool and other training resources to help you use the Model Code in your local campaigns!
Webinar on the DSC Model Code: Data, Monitoring & Accountability
June 27, 2013
4 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. CT/ 2 p.m. MT/ 1 p.m. PT
Join DSC for the fourth in a series of webinars on the Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity. This webinar will focus on Data, Monitoring and Accountability, found in chapter 5 of the Model Code. We will discuss the specific kinds of data that should be available to all stakeholders in the school community in an easily accessible manner and share guidelines for continual monitoring of school progress. DSC members from Los Angeles, New Orleans and Miami will share their own successes and challenges in the gathering of data and community-based monitoring of policies.
Click here to sign up!
Free Minds, Free People National Conference
July 11-14, 2013
A national conference convened by the Education for Liberation Network that brings together teachers, students, researchers, parents and community-based activists to build a movement to promote education as a tool for liberation. The 2013 conference will take place in Chicago, a city where a strike brought teachers and community together to successfully challenge corporate education reform. This is an opportunity to connect, learn, and plan for action in this important city.
Click here to find out more!
We Can Do Better: Collaborating to Reform School Discipline and Accountability
July 11-13, 2013
This conference organized by the Advancement Project will bring together on-the-ground stakeholders and organizational leaders from across the country to share common sense, collaborative solutions for keeping students in school and creating supportive learning environments. It will focus on ways to reduce suspensions and arrests of students, and on the intersection of discipline and accountability.
Click here to find out more!
DSC National Week of Action on School Pushout
September 28 - October 5, 2013
Click here to find out more!
School Safety in North Carolina: Realities, Recommendations & Resources
This issue brief released in May by youth justice advocates from North Carolina debunks common myths driving much of the school safety debate and provides a comprehensive, research-based approach to the issue. It was submitted to the N.C. Center for Safer Schools, a state program created in March 2013 that is currently seeking public comment on school safety issues. The authors focus on alternatives to law enforcement and criminal justice-based approaches to school safety issues.
Click here to learn more and download the full report.
Film: The New Public - It's Bigger Than School
Filmed over four years, The New Public follows the journey of students, parents and educators striving to reconcile idealism with reality and make a difference in the futures of young people whose lives are stark representations of our country’s education and opportunity gaps.
Click here to learn more and find a screening near you!.
Videos: You Can't Build Peace With a Piece
A playlist of youth of color speaking out at rallies and events demanding positive alternatives to calls for more police and armed guards in schools.
Click here to see the playlist and watch the videos.
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.