NEWS & UPDATES

Greetings DSC Members and Allies!

As the new year begins, we want to recognize all the hard work of our members in 2014 which led to many local victories and helped our campaign grow to include 92 members in 24 states! Last year we had an amazing National Week of Action with over 100 events in 50 cities and are excited to share our 2014 Week of Action Highlights video below, along with updates about our federal work. If you have local campaign updates, events, or resources you would like to share through our e-newsletter please email us!



NATIONAL UPDATES

2014 National Week of Action Highlights Video

From October 4-11, 2014, across the country our members delivered the message that we will not rest until every student receives a quality education that allows them to reach their full potential. Our 2014 National Week of Action Against School Pushout captured the power of the movement to end school pushout as students, parents, educators and advocates in 50 cities declared Education is the Key! Don't Lock Us Out!

Watch and share our highlights video featuring photos and video clips from events around the country that took place during our largest Week of Action yet. It's a great tool to recruit others to join your events this year! Visit our Youtube page to watch the video.




DSC Petition Against Lending Surplus Military Weapons to Law Enforcement in Schools

Following a meeting in November with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, DSC launched an online petition calling for the end of the 1033 Program's lending of military weapons to law enforcement agencies serving K-12 public schools. DSC's work centers around ending school pushout and the criminalization of youth on school grounds, which fuel the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Increased police presence and the reliance on School Resource Officers in discipline matters have contributed to discipline disparities for students of color and increased referrals of students to the juvenile justice system, most often for minor offenses. The lending of military weapons to law enforcement agencies that operate in schools is yet another example of the criminalization of our young people.

We urge you as allies in this movement to sign-on to the petition here and to share it with your networks. Our deadline for this petition is January 31, 2015.



Federal Discipline Guidance Released One Year Ago Today

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the historic release of the federal Joint Guidance on School Discipline from the Departments of Education and Justice. This Joint Guidance describes how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer discipline in non-discriminatory ways. It puts schools on notice of possible consequences (including possible civil rights investigations) of continuing discriminatory discipline practices that disproportionately push students of color out of school and into the juvenile justice system.

Recent data show that African American students are expelled and suspended at three times the rate of their white peers, despite research showing that they do not misbehave more frequently than their white peers. The data also show disproportionate rates of arrests and referrals of students of color to law enforcement.

Many DSC member organizations, including parent, student, and teacher community-based groups worked tirelessly to advocate for this Guidance and are using it to support their local campaigns. For example, members in Wake County, NC and San Francisco, CA released School Discipline Assessments of their districts that compared the new federal School Discipline Guidance with local school district policies. You can do the same comparison using the Federal Guidance Assessment Tool found here. Read DSC's full blog post on the anniversary here.




#BlackLivesMatter Actions; Petition to Stop $70K Fine for San Francisco Protestors

Across the country, DSC members have continued to participate in actions demanding an end to police brutality and the policing of our schools. Read a recent DSC blog post here and visit Ferguson Action to learn about upcoming actions.

Petition to Stop Fines for BART Protestors

Sign a petition from Color of Change to demand an end to the criminalization and intimidation of the Black Friday 14 who are facing a $70,000 fine and misdemeanors for fighting for their right to live without police violence. If enough people sign-on to this petition, we have a chance at moving The Bay Area BART to drop this outrageous fine. It will only take a moment and every voice makes a difference! #BlackLivesMatter #BlackFriday14 #NotOneDime #WeAlreadyPaidWithOurLives

Actions Around MLK Day

Jan 15th: #PledgeOfResistance
On Dr. King’s birthday join communities across the country to publicly announce the “Year of Resistance & Resilience” at City Halls, Police Departments, and town Squares around the country. Walk out and deliver the “Movement Statement of Resistance to State Violence” at the doors of power. Link to Statement: http://fergusonaction.com/movement/

Jan 18th: #DayOfResilience
After more than 150 days of direct action, communities will take a day of reflection, healing, learning and spirit. Healers, people of faith, educators and others will ground this day in practices that lift our spirits, remind us of our history, ease our minds, and prepare our bodies for the long road ahead.

Jan 19th Day of Action - #WWMLKD
On MLK day, do as Martin Luther King would have done and resist the war on Black Lives with civil disobedience and direct action. Take the streets, #shutitdown, walk, march, take action!



STAFF UPDATES

At the beginning of the year, DSC Field Organizer, Fernando Martinez, joined Advocates for Equity in Education in Henrico, VA in a day of campaign planning.

Some of the key areas of work were around developing their organizational structure, type of leadership circle and campaign strategies for 2015.



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UPCOMING EVENTS

Webinar: Using Statewide Report Cards to Fight Pushout and Criminalization
January 15, 4-5pm est
In this webinar, we will hear from Racial Justice Now! in Dayton, OH and Padres Y Jovenes Unidos in Denver, CO about the state-wide report cards they released. We will hear why they decided to create the report cards, how they put them together, and what successes and challenges came from releasing them. Register here.

Webinar: Restorative Practices: The Basics and Beyond
January 15, 1-3pm est
This webinar brought to you by Public Counsel will answer your questions about how restorative justice works in schools and classrooms when there are other competing priorities and about the best ways to implement restorative justice with fidelity. Register here.

DSC Strategic Planning Retreat
January 23-25, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
DSC Strategic Planning Committee and Coordinating Committee members will hold a retreat in Los Angeles to discuss the vision for our campaign and next steps!

Save the Date!
DSC Annual Membership Meeting

April 24-26, 2015
Chicago, IL

RESOURCES

Teaching About the PIC and Criminal Legal System

This new teaching guide from Project Nia offers exercises, simulations, resources, and discussion ideas for teaching about the Prison Industrial Complex and criminal justice system.
Read about the guide HERE.

Federal Guidance on English Language Learners in U.S. Schools

Read a new 'Dear Colleague' letter explaining federal guidelines for helping to educate the approximately 5 million English language learners in U.S. schools.

IN THE NEWS

‘Are You Listening?’ Ten Highlights From a Generational Moment
StudentNation, December 11, 2014

Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue
Tanzina Vega, NY Times, December 10, 2014

Race debate should include school discipline
Leticia Smith-Evans and Russell Skiba, USA Today, December 21, 2014

About 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.

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DIGNITY IN SCHOOLS | 90 JOHN ST. STE 308, NEW YORK, NY 10038 | TEL: (212) 253-1710 Ext. 317 | FAX (212) 385-6124 | [email protected]