Greetings DSC Members and Allies!
June has been quite the month! So many exciting events and milestones have happened for Dignity in Schools Campaign members. June 23-29 marked the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer in Jackson, Mississippi, members in Oregon, Ohio and other communities had local victories in their campaigns, and DSC announced our 5th Annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout to take place from October 4-11, 2014! JOIN US as we plan events all over the country! For more information contact DSC's Communications Coordinator Nancy Treviño. Please send updates about your local campaigns to Nancy to include in next month’s e-newsletter!
Dignity in Schools Campaign Members Converge in Mississippi for 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer
DSC members from around the country joined youth, parents, educators, grassroots and advocacy groups in Jackson, Mississippi for the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer where DSC members celebrated the accomplishments of those who worked to desegregate our nation's public schools and gathered with those who continue working to ensure the human rights of every child to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. Read more here.
5th Annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout
October 4-11, 2014
We are excited for this year's National Week of Action Against School Pushout to raise awareness about the pushout crisis in our nation's schools. Our theme this year is Education is the Key! Don't Lock Us Out! We aim to push back against the criminalization of our young people and the harsh discipline practices that push students out of school. Each year, states spend $5.7 BILLION a year on the juvenile justice system instead of our schools.
Our goal is to engage 70 organizations from around the country to participate in the Week of Action and to help launch and support local campaigns of students, parents, teachers and advocates working to transform school discipline policies and practices. If you are interested in getting involved you can contact Nancy Treviño.
Portland, OR and Dayton, OH Commit to Reducing Out-of-School Suspensions & Implementing Alternatives
In a recent victory for DSC member Portland Parent Union, which for years has pushed the Portland School Board to adopt alternatives to school pushout such as Restorative Practices, Portland Public Schools have committed to reduce racial disparities in school discipline. PPS will target 10 to 20 schools starting next school year (2014-2015) to narrow the discipline gap and push for all Portland Public Schools to meet the desired goals of reducing school pushout. You can read more here.
Last month Dayton (Ohio) Public Schools (DPS) agreed to begin reducing out-of-school suspensions starting during the 2014-15 school year. After months of attending school board meetings, DSC member Racial Justice Now! successfully organized the School Board to review the current code of student conduct, which now includes Restorative Practices as an alternative to out-of-school suspensions. You can read more here.
New Codes of Conduct in Syracuse, NY and Paterson, NJ
On July 9th, the Syracuse School Board approved an agreement to reduce out-of-school suspensions, implement alternative approaches to discipline, and ensure that schools reduce racial disparities and discrimination against children of all races and abilities. The great work of DSC member Center for Community Alternatives along with other community allies was instrumental in gaining this victory. The district will be required to revise its Code of Conduct, provide training to students and teachers, and ensure that parents understand their children's rights and responsibilities. You can read more here.
After many months of organizing for a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions in Paterson Public Schools, the Parent Education Organizing Council (PEOC) and Paterson Education Fund succeeded in working with the school district to revise their Code of Conduct. “We thought that we were going to get them to come up with a new code or regulations for K-8 students, and we ended up re-writing a new code for K-12. Before the Moratorium campaign, there were 27 ways a child could be suspended and now we reduced it to 5 types of infractions,” said Linda Reid, President of Parent Education Organizing Council.
Agreements in Wake County, NC and Oakland, CA between Schools and Law Enforcement
The Wake County Public School System agreed to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with law enforcement after months of mobilizing and meetings by community organizations and the filing of a federal civil rights complaint. The effort led by DSC members the Youth Organizing Institute and the Education Justice Alliance built a strong coalition that is changing the ways we discipline students in schools. The new MOU requires training, documentation, and more accountability for officers in schools.
In Oakland, DSC member Black Organizing Project is negotiating an MOU between the Police Department and School District that will be voted on in August. The MOU defines and limits the role of police in schools, stating that no school resource officer should act as a school disciplinarian and that law enforcement shall only be used as a last resort. Alternatives to police involvement, such as restorative justice practices, must be tracked and documented and a plan of support created for students who have multiple law enforcement contacts. You can read more here.
The Passing of Torrence Shorter & Alberto Cazarez
We deeply regret to inform you about the passing of two leaders in our DSC community, Torrence Shorter of Blocks Together in Chicago and Alberto Cazarez of Youth Justice Coalition in Los Angeles. Both members attended several DSC events, most recently the Annual Membership Meeting and Day at the Capitol in DC. So many of you will remember Torrence's warmth and lovely spirit. Alberto will be remembered as a committed peacebuilder and warrior. You can support their families in this difficult time by donating here and here.
DSC Staff Attend Freedom Summer
DSC staff Nancy Treviño and Fernando Martinez joined members during the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer in Jackson, MS for a Strategy Session to move forward our Campaign for a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions.
DSC Staff Train Portland Parent Union
DSC Campaign Coordinator Natalie Chap and Field Organizer Fernando Martinez facilitated a Model Code training and strategy conversation on the Moratorium work for our member the Portland Parent Union on June 12 - 14, 2014.
DSC Meets with the National Council of La Raza
DSC Member Monserrat Matehuala from the Youth Organizing Institute of Raleigh, NC joined DSC Communications Coordinator Nancy Treviño for a conversation with the National Council of La Raza in DC and other national organizations working on LGBTQ issues. Groups discussed how school pushout impacts LGBTQ youth and how to strategize as a national network to guarantee that every young person has access to a quality education and is treated with dignity.
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5TH ANNUAL NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST SCHOOL PUSHOUT
Education is the Key! Don't Lock Us Out!
Updates will be posted HERE.
DSC SMALL CONVENING IN PORTLAND OREGON
August 9-11, Portland, OR
Over 40 DSC members from around the country will gather to strategize about their local campaigns to use the Solutions Not Suspension moratorium and DSC Model Code on Education & Dignity.
Civil Rights Collection Data Webinar Slides
The Dignity in Schools Campaign and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc. hosted 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 included Dan Losen of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and David Osher of the American Institute for Research.
Here you can find a general overview on OCR data on School Discipline released in June of 2012 and instructions on how to navigate the OCR website and find specific school discipline data for your State and District.
IN THE NEWS
Syracuse School Board Acts on Attorney General's Discipline Report; Speakers Praise Contreras
About Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)
Paul Riede, Syracuse.com, July 09, 2014
City Preparing to Expand Restorative Justice Programs
Jackie Schechter, Chalkbeat New York, June 20, 2014
School Board Approves New JCPS Code of Conduct With Focus on Reducing Suspensions
Jacob Ryan, WFPL News, June 11, 2014
How Long Will Louisiana Youth Be Locked Up?
Student Nation, The Nation, June 3, 2014
States Urged to Embrace Alternatives to School Discipline Criminalizing Kids
Susan Ferriss, Center for Public Integrity, June 3, 2014
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.
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