Dear DSC members and allies,
This year is off to an exciting start! Last month the Departments of Education and Justice released historic Federal Guidance on School Discipline which provides legal direction for schools to address racial discrimination and shares recommendations for implementing best practices, such as restorative justice and positive behavior supports. You can click here for slides from a DSC webinar on using the guidance in your local work.
Stay tuned for more information from DSC about the guidance and let us know if there’s any support we can provide as you work to ensure the guidance is being implemented in your community.
Wake County, NC Groups File Complaint with Department of Justice
On January 22, DSC joined Legal Aid of North Carolina Advocates for Children’s Services (ACS) and a coalition of local, state, and national organizations in filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against law enforcement agencies and the school system in Wake County, NC. The complaint alleges a pattern of discrimination and unlawful criminalization caused by school policing policies. Youth Organizing Institute and the Education Justice Alliance were among the DSC member groups who filed the complaint. You can read the
complaint and media coverage here.
Victory in San Francisco!
On January 14, the Board of Education unanimously passed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would create an agreement between the San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco Police Department to dramatically reduce police presence on school campuses and prevent unnecessary student referrals to the juvenile justice system.
Through the great work of DSC member Coleman Advocates and other community members they are hopeful that the chief of police will quickly sign the MOU to ensure these changes. Click
here to read more about this victory.
Dayton, Ohio School Board Adopts Resolution to Support SB 167 to Eliminate Zero Tolerance
On January 21, the Dayton Public School Board unanimously voted to adopt a verbal resolution presented by DSC member Racial Justice Now to support the adoption of Senate Bill 167 that looks to eliminate zero tolerance policies in the state. A board member will be attending the third hearing on the bill where the resolution will be presented. You can get updates from
Racial Justice Now here.
Updated Discipline Data to be Released in Chicago
After years of organizing by many Chicago organizations including DSC members Project NIA and COFI/POWER-PAC, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) gave a verbal commitment to community leaders that CPS will be releasing discipline data with detailed information including demographics broken down by race and disability. The data is to be released at the end of February. This will ensure more transparency on discipline in the district. Click here
for more information.
Coordinating Committee Retreat
The DSC Coordinating Committee held their annual retreat in Washington D.C. in January. The Coordinating Committee discussed our strategic vision and goals for the coming year which we will discuss and finalize with members at our Annual Membership Meeting in March! DSC’s Coordinating Committee members are:
- Rebecca Arnold - Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington, DC
- Maisie Chin - CADRE, Los Angeles, CA
- Christopher Covington - Youth Committee of Building Healthy Communities, Long Beach, CA
- Maria Holt - Racial Justice Now, Dayton, Ohio
- Harold Jordan - ACLU of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
- Sally Lee - Teachers Unite New York, NY
- Monami Maulik - Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), New York, NY
- Kim McGill - Youth Justice Coalition ,Los Angeles, CA
- Joyce Parker - Citizens for a Better Greenville and Mississippi Delta Catalyst Roundtable, Greenvile, MS
- Liz Sullivan - National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, New York, NY
- Marlyn Tillman - Gwinnett STOPP, Snellville, GA
- Marsha Weissman - Center for Community Alternatives, Syracuse, NY
- Gina Womack - Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, New Orleans, LA
In the News
Maryland Approves New School Discipline Regulations
Donna St. George, The Washington Post, 1/28/2014
Maryland education leaders on Tuesday approved the most sweeping changes in decades to state discipline policies, culminating a four-year effort to find a more constructive approach to student punishment, end racial disparities in suspensions and keep students who are punished in school.
Suspended for a T-Shirt: Can We Fix the Race Problems in School Discipline?
Molly Knefel, Rolling Stone, 1/24/2014
While study after study has documented racial disparities in school discipline in districts across the country, the guidance’s federal data illustrates the sweeping extent of the problem. So what can we do to make our schools fairer? The federal guidance recommends a number of best practices to ensure that schools recognize, reduce and eliminate disproportionate treatment of students of color and students with disabilities, while fostering a safe and supportive educational environment. Here are a few of the best ideas:
Teen Handcuffed for Cutting In Line In School Cafeteria: Complaint
Saki Knafo, The Huffington Post, 1/23/2014
In some schools, students who cut in line at the cafeteria might be scolded or sent to a guidance counselor. In Wake County, N.C., they risk getting handcuffed and thrown in jail, according to a complaint against the local school district and law-enforcement agencies filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Administration Urges Restraint in Using Arrest or Expulsion to Discipline Students
Motoko Rich, The New York Times, 1/8/2014
Of the federal guidance, Leticia Smith-Evans, interim director of education practice at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said, “We can only hope that districts will look at this and embrace it and try to make sure that they can move forward in a positive direction to make sure that all students in their schools are being educated.”
Click here to Become a
Member of DSC today!
DSC Model Code on Education and Dignity Training with FFLIC
February 7-8, 8:30am-4:30pm Each Day
Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha C. Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA
DSC staff Fernando Martinez and Natalie Chap will be hosting a training on DSC’s Model Code with FFLIC in New Orleans this weekend! This will be an in depth training to compare the DSC model code to local codes of conduct.
Click here for more information.
Solutions in ACTION! Youth Summit
February 12, 9:00am-2:00pm cst
North Minneapolis YMCA
1711 West Broadway Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Join the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership for a day where middle and high school students will engage with school staff to work together to effectively transform discipline in their schools to improve behavior and responses for everyone. Students will brainstorm fair and equitable responses for inappropriate behavior and create action plans, so they can be involved with their school administration to advocate for and/or implement equitable, supportive discipline policies and practices.
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans: Reducing Disparities and Promoting Positive School Discipline Panel
February 19, 8:30am-10am est
U.S. Department of Education
LBJ Auditorium (1st Floor)
400 Maryland Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20202
DSC members Ramiyah Robinson of NC HEAT and Youth Organizing Institute of North Carolina and Marlyn Tillman of Gwinnett STOPP in Georgia have been invited to speak on the panel. Ramiyah will share her experience utilizing peer mediation in her school and Marlyn will share her experience as a parent organizer in her community to bring an end to school pushout.
Click here for more information on the initiative.
Legal Aid of North Carolina: The Pushout Prevention Project Documentary Screening
Feb 22, 2014, 2:00pm est
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
1801 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC 27605
Legal Aide of North Carolina Advocates for Children’s Services will be hosting a screening of a documentary film about the systemic problem of school pushout in North Carolina.
DSC Annual Meeting
March 21-23, 2014
DSC will hold our annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Details to be announced shortly.
DSC Federal Discipline Guidance Webinar
DSC alongside Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice and NAACP Legal Defense Fund held a webinar on how communities can utilize the Federal School Discipline Guidance released in January.
Here are the webinar slides for you to share with your community!
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.