DSC Days at the Capitol

DSC Members Meet with Federal Policy-Makers

On November 19-21, 2013, the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) held our fifth Days at the Capitol event, where more than 60 students, parents, educators and advocates from 14 states traveled to Washington, DC.

DSC met with Members of Congress and the Departments of Education and Justice to advocate for DSC�s federal policy priorities, including: better data collection requirements on school discipline, stronger accountability mechanisms for reducing high disciplinary rates and disparities, expanded funding and technical assistance for positive approaches to discipline like restorative practices, and investment in counselors not cops.

DSC members continued their efforts to support legislation such as The Strengthening America�s School Act (S. 1094, Harkin), Restorative Justice in Schools Act (H.R. 3401, Cohen), and the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act (H.R. 1875, Ryan) that support practices to help students resolve conflicts and build trusting relationships with educators.

Nollie Jenkins Family Center for her work as co-chair of the Federal Strategies Committee and her help in planning the DSC Days at the Capitol.

Senate Briefing on Preventing School Pushout

On November 21, 2013, educators, parents, and students from DSC held a congressional briefing to examine the positive steps communities across the country have taken to stop school pushout practices.

The congressional briefing was sponsored by Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Murphy (D-Conn.). At the hearing Senator Murphy highlighted the need to develop and create a more positive school culture and the need to teach and reward students when they do well and not focus so heavily on punishing students.

Ramiyah Robinson, a student from Wake County, North Carolina with NC Heat, gave a student�s perspective of why school pushout makes students feel isolated and not supported in school. She served as a peer mediator at her school and through this process noted that it has been a successful tool in improving student engagement and also improving academic outcomes in schools.

Rosalva Nava from COFI/POWER-PAC and Jared Roebuck from Teachers Unite spoke of their experiences with integrating Restorative Peace Circles and Justice Panels to bring students, parents, teachers, and administrators together to mediate conversations that resolve conflict and heal harm in order to create safer schools while still holding students accountable for misbehavior. Rosalva is a Peace Facilitator at Wells High School in Chicago and Jared Roebuck is the co-founder and former Dean at Lyons Community School in Brooklyn, NY.

In the News

This Week: #10. What Can Congress Do About the School-to-Prison Pipeline?
Youth Submission from Youth Organizing Institute, The Nation,11/22/2013
Over the past six weeks, North Carolina students have marched, spoken out and mobilized at school board meetings to end the school-to-prison pipeline. On November 21, Ramiyah Robinson, a 14-year-old member of NC HEAT, joined organizers from across the country to brief Congress about school pushout policies. The Dignity in Schools Campaign organized the speakers for a Senate briefing sponsored by Dick Durbin and Chris Murphy.

Wake County student to talk to US Senators about preventing school pushout
T. Keung Hui, News Observer, 11/21/2013
A Wake County high school student and member of N.C. HEAT will be in the national spotlight Thursday in Washington D.C. talking to U.S. Senators about the problems of student suspensions.

Estudiantes de NYC piden que no se les trate como criminales
Marlene Peralta, El Diario, 11/19/2013
Los estudiantes de escuelas p�blicas esperan que el alcalde electo, Bill de Blasio, reforme las medidas disciplinarias que actualmente se implementan en sus planteles y que calificaron de exageradas.

Pa. Study Asks: Has 'Zero Tolerance' Gone Too Far?
Evie Blad, Education Week, 11/14/2013
Policies originally designed to keep guns out of schools have instead kept excessive numbers of Pennsylvania students out of their classrooms as educators applied the rules in an overly broad manner, says a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

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Webinar: Mobilizing to Fix School Discipline in Your Community
Dec 6, 2013, 10:30-12:00pm (pacific time)
Join DSC members Rob McGowan at CADRE, Kevine Boggess at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, and Sarah Omojola at Public Counsel for this fifth, free webinar in the Let's Fix School Discipline Webinar Series. Click here to register for the webinar.

National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education
Dec 9, 2013
The AFT, NEA, Alliance for Educational Justice, Opportunity to Learn Campaign and others are organizing actions around the country to say yes to great neighborhood public schools for all students, and no to privatization, school closings, and over-testing of students. Click here to learn more.

Celebrate Innovative Human Rights Campaigns
Dec 10, 2013, 7:00pm
777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY
On Human Rights Day NESRI celebrates the growing movement for healthcare as a human right. Laura Flanders will lead a dialogue about innovative campaigns to go beyond Obamacare, pioneered in Vermont, Maryland, Maine and Pennsylvania. Click here for more information.

Mid-Hudson Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships
Dec 11, 2013, 9:00-4:30pm
84 North Broadway, White Plains, NY
DSC will host a workshop on the Model Code as part of an all day summit to build partnerships between local school systems and juvenile justice systems to adopt positive approaches to school discipline that keep students safely in schools and out of the courts. Click here for more information.


Beyond Zero Tolerance: Discipline and Policing in Pennsylvania Public Schools
This new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania presents a ground-breaking analysis that for the first time aggregates data from across the state for all major forms of school discipline. In just the 2011-12 academic year alone, school districts issued more than 166,000 out-of-school suspensions, a rate of 10 suspensions per 100 students.
Click here 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 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]