Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see a police officer or two patrolling the hallways of your child’s school. School resource officers are often stationed in places of learning to provide students and staff with an extra sense of security.
But when the number of school-based officers jumped from a mere 10 percent in the late 1990s to being stationed in nearly one-third of schools across America by 2014, education advocates saw it as a cause for concern.
That’s when a coalition of over 100 education and social justice organizations, parents, youth, advocates and educators known as the Dignity in Schools Campaign stepped in. According to the DSC website, the coalition aims to challenge “the systemic problem of pushout in our nation’s schools” by supporting “alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, criminalization and the dismantling” of the school-to-prison pipeline.
NATIONAL COALITION & CAMPAIGN, SCHOOL DISCIPLINARY REFORM
The DSC challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. As a national coalition, the Dignity in Schools Campaign builds power amongst parents, youth, organizers, advocates and educators to transform their own communities, support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, criminalization and the dismantling of public schools, and fight racism and all forms of oppression. We bring together our members through direct action organizing, public policy advocacy and leadership development to fight for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.
School “Pushout” refers to the numerous and systemic factors that prevent or discourage young people from remaining on track to complete their education and has severe and lasting consequences for students, parents, schools, and communities. These factors include, among others, the failure to provide essential components of a high quality education, lack of stakeholder participation in decision-making, over-reliance on zero-tolerance practices and punitive measures such as suspensions and expulsions, over-reliance on law enforcement tactics and ceding of disciplinary authority to law enforcement personnel, and a history of systemic racism and inequality. These factors have an impact on all students, but have a disproportionate impact on historically disenfranchised youth.
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