Echo and Roundtable Members Protest Against Harsh School Discipline Across the State and Nation

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2013 DSC Week of Action

Members of the Southern Echo and the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable join more than 60 organizations in 42 cities in 22 states for the Dignity in Schools Campaign 4th Annual Week of Action Against School Pushout.

As part of the Dignity in Schools 4th National Week of Action Against School Pushout from September 28th to October 5th members of the MS Delta Catalyst Roundtable united with youth and adult activists across the nation to advocate against school pushout and for progressive policies designed to keep students in school where they can learn.

As part of the week of action, Joyce Parker, Chair of Southern Echo’s Board of Directors and Director of Concerned Citizens for a Better Greenville (CCBG), participated in a panel at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Opportunity to Learn Campaign‘s (OTL) National Conference in Los Angeles, California. She talked to the teachers union about their role in supporting teachers in our fight against children being pushed out of schools. “By taking the front line, we ensure that the necessary trainings and supportive service tools are provided to ensure teachers have what they need to be successful in assisting students in an environment that is conducive to learning,” stated Parker.

She further commented, “We used the Week of Action as an opportunity to provide to students and parents solutions to suspensions. We made sure parents are not missing in action and that students are informed about attendance and zero tolerance policies. Our district [Greenville, MS] no longer supports zero tolerance policies. So, we wanted to make sure our parents and students understand the Student Handbook which speaks to solutions and not suspensions and expulsions.”

Like CCBG, other members of the Roundtable advocated for an end to school pushout by hosting summits, community meetings, trainings, and other advocacy activities.

Activists With A Purpose, buy cheap xanax bars Grenada, MS, hosted a 3-day Youth Summit and Teach-In to help students and parents to better understand the issue of School Pushout. The summit focused on three themes: “Solutions Not Suspensions”, “Counselors Not Cops”, and “Racial Disparities in School Discipline.”

Diana Freelon-Foster, Southern Echo Field Organizer and Director of Activists With a Purpose, expressed the excitement of the students who attended to “learn, grow, and organize” for Restorative Justice practices. Students committed to meeting every Tuesday and second Saturday of each month to further prepare their work.

Other members of the Roundtable who hosted events during the Week of Action include, Action Communication Education Reform, Duck Hill, MS, and Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Lexington, MS.

Janice Harper, an Organizer with Nollie Jenkins Family Center, commented that the “week of action was important to our work to try and keep children inside of schools so that they can learn. We do not support suspensions and expulsions for minor infractions.”

Echo and the Roundtable’s participation during the Week of Action continues our work to advocate for the creation of healthy school programs that include, but are not limited to:

  • ending the pipeline from schoolhouse to jailhouse;
  • development and implementation of fair and appropriate research-based disciplinary practices that focus on keeping children in school where they can learn rather than pushing them out of school, on to the streets and into the juvenile justice system;
  • implementation in schools of state-mandated Response to Intervention, Teacher Support Teams, Conflict Resolution and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports,
  • other intervention strategies designed to provide students and teachers with assessments and support services as the problems facing students arise, not after it is too late; and
  • abolition of beating children in schools, for which the research-based evidence shows that there is no educational benefit and that its impact tends to be counter-productive on many levels.