DSC-NY and CDF-NY Organize First Twitter Party
By Donna Cao (Youth & Education Justice Intern, Children's Defense Fund - New York) and Charlotte Pope (Intern, Dignity in Schools Campaign - New York)
Nationwide, over 3 million young people are suspended each year. At the annual New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) Discipline Code public hearing on June 6, 2013 students, parents, educators, and advocates from across the city came together to draw attention to the need for revisions to the Code that would go much further than those proposed by the NYCDOE.
For community members and stakeholders working towards fair and restorative discipline in New York City schools, efforts did not start or end with the hearing. In fact, The Children's Defense Fund-New York (CDF-NY) and the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY) worked in collaboration to organize their first-ever “Twitter Party” on the Discipline Code on June 19th. The virtual party focused on raising awareness of the deadline for submitting proposed revisions to the 2013-14 Discipline Code and the need for more progressive and supportive school discipline.
A “Twitter Party” brings stakeholders together to advocate on behalf of a cause. In this case, participants were encouraged to use the hashtags #SolutionsNotSuspensions and #AppropriateDiscipline during the one hour party.
Contributing organizations included Advocates for Children, the Advancement Project, the Coalition for Educational Justice, Sistas and Brothas United, and the Urban Youth Collaborative among many others.
Three hundred eighty-five #SolutionsNotSuspensions tweets were sent along with 87 #AppropriateDiscipline tweets from 103 accounts and 27 organizations – reaching tens of thousands of twitter followers. Tweets were directed at the NYCDOE, elected officials, media and allies – an extraordinary unified effort from supporters of the youth justice cause. This summer, DSC-NY will continue to push the Office of Safety and Youth Development to invest in sustainable disciplinary alternatives and to effectively publicize Code changes to students and parents.
Wednesday night's Twitter party was undoubtedly an exciting new effort to engage and educate the public in ensuring that restorative practices, grounded in a commitment to social-emotional learning, are where @NYCSchools priorities are focused.
For more information about DSC-NY’s priorities, please read this letter we submitted to the DOE. The letter highlights the overuse of punitive discipline, arrests and summonses in NYC’s schools and recommends investments in positive alternatives and guidance interventions that turn discipline into a learning opportunity. DSC-NY has three main priorities: end all suspensions for minor infractions, require that schools use positive interventions before they can suspend a student, and end long-term suspensions of more than 10 days.
Who is the Children’s Defense Fund? A member of DSC-NY, the Children's Defense Fund is a non-profit children’s advocacy organization that works to promote comprehensive child welfare policies across the nation, particularly in health and education. In New York City, CDF aims to reform zero tolerance practices that lead to the criminalization of children in schools.