Greetings DSC Members and Allies!

Happy 2016! This year we hit the ground running with DSC members testifying at two regional public meetings hosted by the Department of Education on Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act. We are also excited to share our 2015 Week of Action highlights video, as well as recent member updates, as a testament to the amazing leadership of parents, students, educators and advocates across the country. If you have local campaign updates, events, or resources you would like to share through our e-newsletter email


DSC Members Testify at Federal Department of Education Meetings on ESSA

This month, DSC members from 7 states testified at two public meetings in Washington, DC and Los Angeles organized by the Department of Education (ED) on Title I of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Members urged ED to help states implement the law’s school climate and discipline reform provisions through the issuance of regulations, guidance, and technical assistance to states. ESSA includes the option of using school climate and safety as an indicator of school quality or student success.

Members who testified include Gina Womack of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, Juan Peña of Youth Justice Coalition, Marika Pfefferkorn of the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, Ruth Cusick of Public Counsel, Zakiya Sankara-Jabar of Racial Justice NOW!, Joyce Parker of Citizens for a Better Greenville, Harold Jordan of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Marlyn Tillman of Gwinnett SToPP. You can read more about the testimonies in Washington, DC here and Los Angeles here, and watch recordings of the meetings on ED’s website.

2015 National Week of Action Highlights Video

From October 3-11, 2015, DSC members and allies participated in our 6th Annual Week of Action Against School Pushout. Across the country, DSC members and allies held over 70 actions and events in 40 cities hosted by more than 100 organizations. We collectively delivered the message that we must Invest in Public Education, Not Prison Cultivation!

Watch and share our highlights video featuring photos and video clips from events around the country. This is a great tool to recruit others to join your events in 2016!


Coleman Advocates Participate in Reclaim MLK Action

On January 15, DSC member Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and allies participated in the second annual 96 hours of action to reclaim the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. This was part of multiple days of action that took place throughout California, and across the country, to shine light on the history and intersectionality between state sanctioned violence, gentrification, criminalization, and other forms of economic violence against both black and brown communities. The action commemorated the rich history of the Fillmore District, known as the "Harlem of the West," a historically Japanese and Black neighborhood, which was displaced in the first phase of redevelopment and gentrification in San Francisco. Mario Woods, who was killed by San Francisco Bayview Police late last year, was also honored at the action and community members raised awareness about the outmigration of black families, who now represent less than 3% of the population of San Francisco.

DSC Members in Virginia Hold MLK Advocacy Day

On January 18, DSC members Advocates for Equity in Schools-Henrico Coalition and I Vote for Me held an advocacy day in Richmond, VA to inform legislators about the school-to-prison pipeline. The advocacy day was organized to commemorate the civil rights movement led in part by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and teach youth leaders from the Girl Scouts Troop 921 how to advocate for themselves. Youth and parents informed legislators about the impact of school pushout on children of color and children with disabilities and hand delivered pledges and buttons calling for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions to more than 20 Virginia legislators. Members also informed legislators about SB 458, sponsored by Senator Donald McEachin, that calls for schools to use suspensions only as a last resort after all feasible alternatives to suspension have been considered.

Missouri GSA Network Youth Leadership Council Meeting

In early January, youth leaders from DSC member organization Missouri GSA Network participated in a three day winter strategy retreat with the Missouri Youth Leadership Council, a group of leaders from GSA groups across the state. Youth leaders held discussions about race, class and the political landscape of schools in Missouri and developed their collective logic model for pushing back against school pushout. Throughout the weekend, youth leaders were trained on various national, local and regional movements and how they are part of a much larger social justice movement. In March, the group will be traveling to the state capital for an advocacy day.


This month, our national Field Organizer Fernando Martinez joined DSC youth leader Antonio Travis and Farrell Richardson of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children at the national gathering of the National Youth Alliance for Boys and Men of Color organized by the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing in San Francisco. Participants discussed uplifting youth organizing, strategies to end the school to prison pipeline and policy recommendations to share with the Obama administration.


In Bronx survey, struggling students explain what’s missing from school discipline debates
Patrick Wall, Chalkbeat NY, January 19, 2016

How one student asked the state to tackle a looming education question
Joy Resmovits, LA Times, January 14, 2016

100,000 NYC School Children Face Airport-Style Security Screening Every Day
Cecilia Reyes, Pro Publica, Jenny Ye, WNYC, January 12, 2016

ESSA Offers Opportunity to Combat School Pushout
Janel George, Education Week, January 8, 2016

Report says Virginia should require school police training and alter laws to reduce arrests
Susan Ferriss, Center for Public Integrity, January 6, 2016

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Webinar on Title I of Every Student Succeeds Act

January 27, 2016
12:30- 1:30PM EST

The Robert F. Kennedy Juvenile Justice Collaborative with technical support from the Open Society Foundations will be hosting a webinar on the new Elementary and Secondary Education law that will feature a discussion of changes to Title I, Part D of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and describe how ESSA can improve access to education for youth involved in or reentering from the juvenile justice system. Register for the webinar here.

DSC Annual Membership Meeting

April 22-24, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
Save the Date!


Restoring Justice to our Schools Report

DSC member New Settlement Parent Action Committee released the report, Restoring Justice in Our Schools: Community Research and Solutions to End School Pushout. The report is based on original research conducted by Bronx residents that proposes a new approach to create safe and supportive school communities. You can read the full report here.

Protecting Childhood: Developmentally Appropriate School Policing Report

The Legal Aid Justice Center of Virginia has released a report identifying the problems of placing law enforcement officers in schools. The report provides a list of detailed recommendations that will improve school safety, increase academic achievement, and help break down the school-to-prison pipeline. You can read the full report here.

A District’s Use of Data and Research to Inform Policy Formation and Implementation

This report by the Regional Educational Laboratory Program Northeast & Islands of the Education Development Center describes how Syracuse City Schools formulated and implemented a new discipline policy using data and research. DSC member Center for Community Alternatives was part of efforts in Syracuse to revise their Code of Conduct. You can read the full report here.

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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