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Just and Fair Schools Fund Newsletter: February 2013

Resource type: News

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The Just and Fair Schools Fund (JFSF) supports grassroots organizing initiatives that work to eliminate harsh school discipline policies and practices – and that uphold the right to education for all youth. Our newsletter shares updates on parent-, youth-, and congregation-led victories, partner spotlights, news, and resources to promote positive school climates and discipline.

The JFSF is made possible with the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies, Barr Foundation, Cricket Island Foundation, Falk Foundation, Ford Foundation, Gill Foundation, Hyams Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skillman Foundation, and an anonymous donor. Activities described in this newsletter are not necessarily funded by JFSF or any of its members.


Denver Youth Lead Police and Schools to Sign Historic Agreement

JFSF partner Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, with the support of Advancement Project, helped facilitate a historic Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) signed between Denver Public Schools and the Denver Police Department. The IGA outlines concrete steps to limit reliance on school policing and serves as a model for cities around the nation striving to strengthen partnerships between communities, education, and law enforcement. Read more>

Chicago Schools Cut Police Funding in Half

Days after youth and parent leaders of Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI), and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance protested at Chicago Public Schools against adding police officers in schools, the School Board voted to cut spending on school police in half, saving $13 million per year. Read more>

Partner Spotlights

L.A. Youth Speak Out: School Safety & College Prep, Not Prison Prep

On February 13, leaders from Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) and other Dignity in Schools Campaign-Los Angeles members gathered at U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s field office releasing a statement by youth of color on gun violence and school safety. See more>

Miami Students Promote Restorative Justice with School Officials

Power U Center for Social Change youth leaders met with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board Member Dr. Bendross-Mindingall and School Operations CEO Valtena Brown to discuss the critical role of restorative justice in schools.

Youth Leaders Inform Debates on School Policing and Gun Control

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, JFSF partners Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, Labor/Community Strategy Center, Philadelphia’s Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, and the Philadelphia Student Union are upping the fight against racial injustice in school discipline. Read more>

Chicago/Denver Leaders Share Lessons for Smarter School Discipline

Chicago’s Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) parent leaders visited Padres y Jóvenes Unidos and school official allies for an exchange on how Denver and Colorado secured progressive school discipline policies for youth.

The Strategy Center: More Police in Schools Criminalizes Youth

The Labor/Community Strategy Center’s Director of Organizing Manuel Criollo discusses on KPFK 90.7 FM (Los Angeles) why more policing in schools will exacerbate the criminalization of Black and Latino youth. Hear more>

Shaping the National Conversation

Education Week, 2/19/13 – In the face of questions about whether charter schools use their autonomous discipline policies to push out challenging students, urban districts are beginning to bring charter schools into alignment with standard school policies. Read more>  

PR Newswire, 2/6/13 – The National Association of School Boards of Education will assist state education leaders to shape the next generation of progressive discipline policies. Read more

U.S. Senators, 2/4/13 – As a follow-up to the recent U.S. Senate hearing on the school-to-prison pipeline, Senators pressed the Departments of Education and Justice for updates on the Supportive School Discipline Initiative’s policy recommendations and guidelines. Read more

EdSource, 1/31/13 – In a statewide poll, Californians say that mental health care and emergency preparedness are the best ways to prevent school violence.  Voters support counselors over armed officers by more than 2-to-1, and oppose arming teachers, to ensure safe schools. Read more>   

Washington Post, 1/16/13 – President Obama proposes a multi-prong approach to making schools safer including more school counselors, investing in mental health services, creating more nurturing school climates, and expanding best practices in school discipline. Read more>  

New York Times, 1/16/13 – Top civil rights groups release a new report citing extreme school discipline practices throughout Mississippi, such as school districts that suspend students at nine times the national average, and a school where students were handcuffed for infractions as minor as not wearing belts. Read more>  

Washington Post, 1/16/13 – The National PTA argues that schools must be completely gun-free and opposes armed officers in schools. Read more>  

New York Times, 1/16/13 – Uniformed, volunteer immigration posses began patrolling 59 Arizona schools, purportedly in the name of school safety. Read more>  

Education Week, 1/10/13 – A new report from the Everyone Graduates Center finds that “the impacts of suspension, particularly for 9th grade students, cannot be overstated” for lowering graduation rates, and recommends that schools motivate students who aren’t engaged in learning. Read more>

Resources You Can Use


Teaching Tolerance – This special issue examines how a teacher’s daily decisions can help prevent students from being pushed into the criminal justice system. Read more

New Website: Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track – Advancement Project launched a new website with an interactive data module, success stories, action-oriented resources, and a new map of the movement to end the schoolhouse to jailhouse track. Learn more>

Getting to Outcomes – Research for Action and Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) – a sister fund of JFSF – released a new guidebook with a set of updated indicators, measures, and data sources for framing and assessing education organizing work. Read more>  

Keeping Kids in Class – A new report from the Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families highlights the racial disparities in Arkansas’ school discipline. Read more>  

New Website:  Promoting Safe Communities – The National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition launched a new website containing resources for policymakers on how to ensure safer environments for students and families. Learn more>   

Adult Decisions – The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance released a new report profiling the successes of how three CT towns worked to improve school climate while decreasing the number of students arrested. Read more>

Just and Fair Schools Fund is an Atlantic grantee.

Related Resources


Children & Youth, School Discipline Reform

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