On Friday, December 17th, Rep Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives on “Raising awareness of school pushout and promoting dignity in schools.” The Resolution recognizes that students who are pushed out of school by harsh discipline policies and degrading school environments are deprived of an education that would enable them to reach their full potential, a central human rights principle recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Resolution was inspired by the Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) National Resolution on Ending School Pushout, a call to action issued one year ago by NESRI and our fellow DSC member organizations. The DSC Resolution, now signed by more than 250 organizations and individuals from all 50 states, calls on our school systems to guarantee the human rights to education, dignity, freedom from discrimination and participation.
Marlyn Tillman of DSC Member Group Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett STOPP) said of the new House Resolution, “This resolution is critical to the work we are doing in our communities to end school pushout. Congress is catching up with those of us on the ground fighting for our young peoples’ human right to education.”
The House Resolution raises awareness of policies and practices that "disengage students from learning and remove them from the classroom, furthering a national crisis that is more accurately described as ‘push out,’ as opposed to ‘drop out,’ as children and youth are effectively pushed out of school."
It highlights the success of positive approaches to school discipline, such as school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) and restorative practices, and pledges to work with states, local education agencies and schools to "reduce or eliminate school suspensions (especially out-of-school suspensions), expulsions, arrests, corporal punishment, and placements in disciplinary alternative schools."
Co-sponsors of the Resolution include: Danny Davis (D-IL), Robert Scott (D-VA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), James Himes (D-CT), Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Donald Payne (D-NJ), José Serrano (D-NY), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).
The DSC is bringing together member groups from across the country to advocate for changes to federal law and policy to reduce pushout and promote positive approaches to discipline in schools that will guarantee students fundamental human rights.