Dignity in Schools Week of Action on School Pushout
Throughout the week of October 1-8, 2011, thousands of parents, youth, and educators took part in actions and events in 28 cities to expose the school pushout crisis in our nation and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. Below are highlights from the Week of Action, links to video footage and photos, and news coverage from around the country. Visit www.dignityinschools.org for more!
Week of Action Resources:
- Download, read, and share the DSC National Week of Action Platform in English, and/or in Spanish.
- Watch the Week of Action Video PSA.
- Check out photos from around the country.
- Learn more about school pushout with our factsheets.
Some Highlights from the Week of Action
LOS ANGELES, CA – On Wednesday, October 5th, DSC-Los Angeles hosted a virtual rally with participants from Fresno, Oakland, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Over 100 people from Los Angeles alone participated in the rally with many more video-conferencing in from other cities. Claudia Gomez of the Youth Justice Coalition shared her story of being pushed out of the Los Angeles Unified School District through a combination of a lack of appropriate support services, truancy ticketing, suspensions and expulsion. Claudia, who successfully graduated from high school in 2008, called for the protection of students’ human right to education, saying “education with dignity recognizes the school as a community and education as a human right, not just a cycle of tests and punishments.” Other speakers included representatives from DSC-LA member groups CADRE, CDF-CA, the Community Rights Campaign of the Labor/Community Strategy Center, and Public Counsel.
DENVER, CO – On Wednesday, October 5th, Padres y Jovenes Unidos launched its 100 Days of Colorado Stories. Padres members Dalilah Vasquez and her father shared the first story of the series, relating her personal experience starting in middle school with the unnecessary involvement of law enforcement in minor discipline incidents. Padres will continue to release one story a day until the January 12th start of the Colorado legislative session as part of their work to pass state legislation that: limits police interference in schools to serious threats to school safety; provides guidance to school staff and police officers; and provides support for alternatives that focus on students’ needs and puts their education first.
LEXINGTON & McCOMB, MS – With over 15 forums and actions taking place in different cities and towns throughout the state, Mississippi had the most events during the Week of Action. For example, on Saturday, October 1 youth organizers with the Nollie Jenkins Family Center kicked-off the Week of Action with a “Know Your Rights” training in Lexington, MS. On Tuesday, October 4th, youth members of the MS Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse and the McComb Youth Council NAACP hosted a community round-table and educational forum for parents, students and community leaders in McComb, MS.
NEW YORK, NY – On October 4th, over 100 students, parents, advocates, and teachers from DSC-New York held a rally at City Hall Park followed by a march to police headquarters to speak out against punitive discipline policies and over policing in public schools. Speakers at the event included representatives from DSC-New York member groups DRUM, NSA Parent Action Committee, Sistas and Brothas United, and Teachers Unite, as well as Queens City Council Member Daniel Dromm. As part of the rally, the Bushwick Campus Street Theatre group, Bushwick Stage Nerds, performed a visual representation of students passing through a metal detector as they enter school in the morning, getting stopped and searched by a school safety officer and being made late to class.
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, October 5th, the DSC, National Education Policy Center (NEPC), and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform hosted a press briefing at the National Press Club for the release of the report "Discipline Policies, Successful Schools and Racial Justice." The report, authored by Daniel Losen of The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto de Derechos Civiles at UCLA, analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and found that more than 28% of Black middle school boys had been suspended at least once, compared with 10% of white males nationwide. Speakers at the press briefing included DSC members Wanda Parker, a parent organizer with Citizens for a Better Greenville (Greenville, MS), and Edward Ward, a youth member of Blocks Together (Chicago, IL).