Highlights from Dignity in Schools Campaign National Week of Action


Parents, youth, educators and advocates  organized actions in 15 cities around the country during the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) National Week of Action on School Pushout, October 11-17, 2010, to expose the pushout crisis in our nation’s schools and advocate for the human right of every student to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.

In New York City, NESRI and the Dignity in Schools Campaign New York chapter (DSC-NY) organized a Teach-in on Solutions for Positive School Discipline.  More than 150 students, parents, teachers and advocates gathered to learn about positive models for discipline like restorative practices and positive behavior supports.  The opening panel featured youth leaders from DRUM, Make the Road New York and Sistas and Brothas United, and a teacher from Teachers Unite who is implementing restorative practices in his school.  Watch video of the opening panel here.

The DSC also launched an on-line School Pushout Story Bank, featuring testimonies from students, parents, educators and advocates across the country sharing their experiences with zero-tolerance discipline and pushout.  Watch a video interview of Marlyn Tillman of Gwinnett STOPP discussing school practices that lead to pushout in Georgia and human rights alternatives.

You can visit the DSC website to read about actions and watch video from events that took place across the country, including:

Atlanta, GA – Over 60 concerned parents and advocates gathered at Big Bethel A.M.E. Church on Saturday, Oct. 9 to discuss “Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP)” in Atlanta, Georgia. The event, a collaboration between Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the STPP, Atlanta Community Engagement Team, the ACLU of Georgia, Georgia State Conference NAACP, and the Interfaith Children’s Movement, kicked off the DSC’s National Week of Action—a call for everyone across the country to push back against school pushout and advocate for dignity and fairness in schools.  The symposium is scheduled to take place in five different regions of the state. 

Los Angeles, CA – The Dignity in Schools Campaign Los Angeles chapter (DSC-LA) held a press conference, demonstration and testimonies in front of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Board of Education Building on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Participating organizations included The Community Rights Campaign, the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC), the Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), Public Counsel Law Center, and Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc.  The press conference announced the re-release of “Redefining Dignity in Our Schools: A Shadow Report on School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) Implementation in South Los Angeles, 2001-2010,"  by CADRE, the Public Counsel Law Center, and Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc

Itta Bena, MS – Some 350 concerned citizens, educators and youth gathered on Mississippi Valley State University’s campus for the 6th “Conference of Mississippi Education Stakeholders on Dismantling the Achievement Gap,” hosted by the Mississippi Delta Catalyst Roundtable and Southern Echo.  Attendees came from 44 school districts and communities to discuss the dangers of consolidating some of the state’s under-funded and under-performing districts, particularly without focusing on remedies to treat the ills of the system. State Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham joined the conversation and answered thoughtful questions from youth, many of whom attend the schools labeled as “failing.”

Chicago, IL – Over 100 people attended the Roosevelt University Cradle to College Pipeline Summit on October 14-16.  Highlights from Friday included a session featuring POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew – Policy Action Council) on their work establishing parent facilitated peace circles – an example of restorative practices –  in their children’s schools.  Saturday featured a standing room only panel of youth from Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team, Chicago Freedom School, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, Gender Just and Blocks Together.  They described their work implementing trainings in restorative justice for school resource officers or winning a restorative -based grievance process for youth targeted for harassment or discrimination in school. Also in Chicago, on October 11, Blocks Together Youth Council placed Chicago Public Schools on trial for refusing access to all students, and Generation Y made October 16 a day of workshops and collective art focused on school pushout.