Dear DSC Members and Allies,
April was an exciting month! DSC members in Ohio and Oregon launched campaigns calling for a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions and seeking implementation of more Restorative Justice in schools. Youth leaders from YOUTH VOICE walked 80 miles from Detroit to Lansing, Michigan to raise awareness about high suspension and expulsion rates in schools and the need to modify zero tolerance policies in schools. Send updates about your local campaigns to firstname.lastname@example.org to include in next month’s e-newsletter!
Michigan Youth Walk 80 Miles for Educational Justice!
From April 21-23, students from YOUTH VOICE and allies walked 80 miles from Detroit to Lansing, Michigan to take a stand against school pushout and ensure that all Michigan youth receive a quality education. They held a press conference where youth shared how they have been impacted by zero tolerance policies in their schools and advocates gave testimonies on the work they are doing to reform Michigan’s zero tolerance law. The Michigan Board of Education State Superintendent, Mike Flanagan committed to working on this issue and Director for the Department of Human Services Maura Corrigan spoke and stated, "You will shortly be seeing our request from the Governor, for laws to be passed in our legislation to modify zero tolerance!"
Racial Justice Now Launches Moratorium Campaign
On April 15, Racial Justice Now of Dayton, Ohio launched a campaign calling for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions in pre-K through third grade, and for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions for minor behavior infractions in all grades.The Dayton Public School District has made some headway by moving towards implementing Restorative Justice programs in schools that look to resolve conflicts by keeping students in school while still holding them accountable for their behavior. However, the district is reluctant to sign onto a moratorium on out-of school-suspensions for students in pre-K through third grade. The school board has committed to present their decision on June 17.
Portland Parent Union Launches Moratorium Campaign
On April 9, Portland Parent Union (PPU) officially launched a campaign calling on Portland Public Schools to declare a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. After years of organizing to change exclusionary discipline policies, PPU has struggled to get a public response from the School Board. However, after the launch of the campaign, PPU held a trust circle where parents shared their stories and four School Board members attended, including the board chair. Administrators, teacher union representatives, and other community advocates also attended. The School Board, superintendent and union have since agreed to work with PPU to discuss the moratorium and revising the Code of Conduct.
In the past month, DSC staff have been supporting DSC member groups in their local campaigns and building new relationships. Our Field Organizer, Fernando Martinez, traveled to Michigan to support our member YOUTH VOICE in their 80 mile march, and our Communications Coordinator, Nancy Trevino, supported members in Dayton and Portland with media outreach to launch their moratorium campaigns. Our Campaign Coordinator, Natalie Chap, participated in a week-long SOUL training on youth organizing in New York City co-sponsored by our members DRUM and Make the Road New York. DSC staff are here to support you in your local, state and national work. Please email email@example.com to talk with staff about how they can support your work.
The New “Separate and Unequal” Report
The Community Rights Campaign of the Labor/Community Strategy Center and the Black Organizing Project released a report The New “Separate and Unequal”: Using California’s Local Control Funding Formula to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The policy brief is intended to contribute to the efforts to provide equal educational opportunities for all students and to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.
The Colorado School Discipline Report Card
Padres y Jovenes Unidos released The Colorado School Discipline Report Card where they highlight both the positive developments during the 2012-13 school year and the areas that will require significant additional improvement, both for the state as a whole and for individual districts.
In the News
Proposed Louisiana Legislation Perpetuates School to Prison Pipeline
Dignity in Schools Campaign Blog, 5/6/2014
Last week Louisiana State Senate Bill 652 (SB 652) passed out of the Senate Education committee, bringing us one step closer to a harmful new law that would perpetuate the school to prison pipeline in Louisiana.
If passed, students removed from classrooms for misbehavior will be more likely to end up in juvenile courts and alternative school settings. If law enforcement were called into a classroom, SB 652 would command law enforcement to remove a child from class and take him/her into custody if the teacher thinks the child might break the law—even if a law enforcement officer doesn’t think custody is legal.
Michigan Students Spend Spring Break Walking 80 Miles To State Capitol To End School Pushout
emPower Editors, Empower Online Magazine, 4/23/2014
On Monday, a group of Michigan youth began walking from Detroit to Lansing to bring attention to the alarming number of unjust suspensions and expulsions in Michigan. Their three-day journey ended this morning, April 23, on the steps of the state capitol building, where students impacted by excessive school discipline practices and advocates working to reform state laws gave testimonies of their experiences in a zero tolerance school environment.
Black Students in Seattle Are Suspended Or Expelled 5 Times More Often Than White Students
Ian Millhiser, Think Progress, 4/21/2014
More than 15 percent of black students in Seattle were suspended from school for at least one day in 2013, according to data from the non-profit group Washington Appleseed. That compares to just over 3 percent of white students. Native Americans fared nearly as badly in Seattle’s schools — just under 15 percent of Native students were suspended. While Asians were the one ethnic group suspended less often than white children.
Grass Roots Group Challenges DPS
WDTN News, 4/17/2014
The activist group, Racial Justice, Now!, claims Dayton schools have a quadruple number of suspensions than the Ohio average. Superintendent Lori Ward acknowledges discipline problems within the district, but wants to be transparent about those issues with the public.. She says a committee that includes parents, monitors the progress of containing school discipline. But the challenging group says in 2012, 49.8 percent of Dayton Public School students were suspended compared to 12.6 percent of Ohio’s public schools.
CPS Students Want State Lawmakers To Fix 'Broken' School Discipline Policies
Ellyn Fortino, Progress Illinois, 4/17/2014
A group of Chicago students is ratcheting up the pressure on state lawmakers to get behind "common-sense" school disciplinary policies. Student leaders with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) argue zero tolerance discipline policies have resulted in zero gains in schools across the state. Dozens of students demonstrated at the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) downtown headquarters Wednesday morning before marching to the Thompson Center to call on state officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, to fix "broken" school discipline policies across Illinois.
Rachel Graham Cody, Willamette Week, 4/9/2014
Sheila Warren says she’s fed up.For years now, she and others have been asking Portland Public Schools to change the way it disciplines students who get into trouble.She’s written letters, attended meetings and brought students and parents before the School Board to describe the effects of suspensions and expulsions, which fall disproportionately on Portland’s black, Latino, low-income and special-education students.
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School Discipline, Implicit Bias, & Race: Exploring the Data and Dynamics Webinar
May 8, 1:30-3:00pm EST
The Kirwan Institute and the Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio will be hosting a webinar to explore the data and dymanics of school discipline in Ohio. Register here.
My Brother’s Keeper: Embracing Latino Males Webinar
May 15, 1:30pm-3:00pm EST
The National Compadres Network will be hosting a webinar addressing the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative and discuss opportunities to effectively address the trauma and healing that young men of color need to succeed. Register here.
Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Week of Action
The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools will kick off a week of action to mark the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Parents, students, educators and community residents are organizing actions across the country to continue the struggle for racial and educational justice and win the public schools all our children deserve. More information here.
Brown at 60 Commemorative Event
May 16, 11:30-1:30pm EST
National Press Club
529 14 Street, NW
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. invites you to join us for a Special Luncheon in the honor of the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Register here.
ACLU Presents: “Brown at 60: Is Full Equality Within Our Grasp?”
May 15, 11:00-2:00pm EST
US National Archives
William G. McGowan Theater
700 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
The ACLU will be hosting an event to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education with a conversation on zero tolerance, segregation and the promise of justice. Register here.
Save the Kids Week of Action Against Incarcerating Youth
DSC member Save the Kids has organized a National Week of Action against Incarcerating Youth. The Week of Action will highlight a different theme each day. For more information and to download
the flier click here.
Civil Rights Collection Data Webinar
June 9, 4:00pm EST
The Dignity in Schools Campaign and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc. will be hosting a webinar on how to use the most recent Civil Rights Collection Data (CRDC) in local advocacy work to reform overly punitive school discipline policies. Presenters will include Dan Losen of the Center for Civil Rights and Remedies at the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and David Osher of the American Institutes for Research. A registration link will be available soon.
Supportive School Discipline Webinar”
June 11, 3:30-5:00pm EST
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is hosting a Webinar on Safe and Supportive School Discipline. The webinar will cover the Guidance Package: Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations.
The webinar will increase awareness and understanding of the issues around school discipline and provide practical examples of policies and practices that maintain school and classroom safety while ensuring academic engagement and success for all students. Register here.
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.