Skip to main content

Just and Fair Schools Fund Newsletter: July 2012

Resource type: News

Just and Fair Schools Fund | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

The Just and Fair Schools Fund (JFSF) at Public Interest Projects 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.


JFSF Partners Share Victories and Strategies in Chicago

Nearly 60 JFSF partners’ youth, parent/grandparent, and congregation leaders and organizers joined Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER) – a sister fund of JFSF – for its Chicago Convening of more than 300 leaders, advocates and researchers, where they exchanged successful strategies to reform school discipline and advance education equity and justice. Read more on CPER’s website and Twitter feed >


Chicago Ends Lengthy Suspension Sentences

Compelled by testimonies from Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) and allies, the Chicago school board voted to end two-week out-of-school suspensions for minor offenses, give principals more discretion over suspensions, and encourage alternatives that curb escalating misconduct. Read more about this from VOYCECOFI and Chicago Public Schools >

Partner Spotlights

Dallas Parents Creating Safe Schools and Strong Academics

Generating unprecedented community participation, Texas Organizing Project (TOP) parent leaders were invited to assist in implementing Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports at Spruce High School beginning this summer. Read more on this and additional TOP successes >

Parent Leaders Discuss Shortcomings of Juvenile Justice Systems

During the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative national conference, a panel of parents – including community organizer Mr. Johnson of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) – described how juvenile justice systems exclude families in caring for youth who fell into the school-to-prison pipeline. See the panel speak here >

CA Lawmakers Seek Youth/Parent Insights to End Severe School Punishments

Youth and parent leaders’ testimonies from Youth Justice Coalition, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), The Labor/Community Strategy Center and allies help inform several California school discipline reform bills in areas such as integrating restorative justice approaches, broadening data collection and maintaining instruction for suspended and expelled students. Read more >

Youth Organizer Addresses Racial Disparities in School Discipline

Citing racial disparities as a central problem in harsh school discipline, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth spearheads restorative justice programming (see adjacent photo) throughout San Francisco including at Downtown High School – an alternative school for students pushed out from other high schools. Read more >

POWER-PAC to Advise Chicago School Security Training

Chicago Public Schools invites Community Organizing and Family Issues’ POWER-PAC to help shape the district’s school security personnel training. Emphasis will be on conflict de-escalation and restorative justice – approaches exemplified through POWER-PAC’s Peace Centers where parents guide students to resolve conflicts and avoid suspensions.

Padres y Jóvenes Unidos Celebrates 20 Years of Action

Padres y Jóvenes Unidos commemorates its 20th anniversary with performances depicting past struggles and victories of overhauling school discipline policies in Colorado. Read more about their celebration >

Shaping the National Conversation

PBS NewsHour, 6/26/12 – Texas Appleseed finds that the earlier children have contact with the juvenile justice system, the greater their risk of being pushed out of school.  Similar to Texas, this segment cites campaigns by JFSF partners in Los Angeles and Colorado to end youth criminalization. Read more >

WABE 90.1 FM, 6/25/12 – Students lose out with cost-saving “virtual” alternative schools in Georgia – sentiments shared by the Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline. Read more >

Catalyst Chicago, 6/25/12 – Inspired by Denver school officials – who were the invited guests at a town hall convened by Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) – a former Illinois State Senator urges Chicago schools to purse the Denver model of effective responses to misbehavior, stronger data collection and keeping students in schools. Read more >, 6/19/12 – With an expulsion rate five times the national average (as cited by Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children), Louisiana decides that students who are expelled or suspended will be placed in alternative schools instead of being sent home without educational services. Read more >
NPR, 6/7/12 – Richmond School District (CA) explores a combination of restorative justice and youth courts to cut down expulsions, suspensions and police involvement in school discipline. Read more >

Reuters, 5/26/12 – Jackson Public Schools (MS) settles on lawsuit to end handcuffing students to railings and poles. Read more >

NPR – StateImpact, 5/4/12 – Florida students with in-school suspensions are marked absent and simply denied instruction – and Power U Center for Social Change youth leaders (see adjacent photo) advocate for change. Read more >

Resources You Can Use

Presentation:  Accessing Federal School Discipline Data – Dignity in Schools Campaign and JFSF share presentations and tutorials from a recent webinar on accessing the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) School Discipline Data. Read more >

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right – a white paper by the Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice and Gay-Straight Alliance Network – examines how draconian school discipline policies worsen the cycle of bullying. The report recommends creating safe learning environments for all students by applying restorative justice approaches, training teachers and administrators in appropriate discipline strategies, and investing more in student counseling resources. Read more >

Infographic on the pipeline to prison

Learn more from Community Coalition>

Arrested Futures – The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Citizens for Juvenile Justice released a report finding that Massachusetts’ three largest school districts excessively applied “public order” offenses as reason for arrests, which disproportionately affects students of color. Read more >

Video:  How to Organize Press Conferences – Alliance for Quality Education demonstrates how to select effective speakers, identify strategic locations, gain media attention and frame winning messages in a new tutorial on how to organize successful local press conferences. See video >

JFSF Allies as Movement Building Organizations – Akonadi Foundation’s new report, Ecosystem Grantmaking, explains their support for organizations such as the Advancement Project and the Alliance for Educational Justice that are implementing smart and innovative strategies to end structural racism. Read more >


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is accepting nominations for itsYoung Leaders Award:  Recognizing Leadership for a Healthier AmericaLearn more>

Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights is seeking applications for its Human Rights Advocates ProgramLearn more >

Philadelphia Student Union (PA) seeks a Youth Media Organizer.Learn more >

Southern Poverty Law Center (Jackson, MS) seeks a Community Advocate. Learn more >

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (San Francisco, CA) seeks a Policy Manager. Learn more >

National Juvenile Justice Project (Washington, DC) seeks a Director for their Fiscal Policy Center. Learn more >

Advancement Project (Washington, DC) seeks a Staff Attorney and Policy Advocate for its Ending the Schoolhouse-to-Jailhouse Track ProjectLearn more >

Related Resources


Children & Youth, School Discipline Reform

Global Impact:

United States