DSC Days at the Capitol III, July 2011

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On July 25 and 26, students, parents, educators, and advocates from 11 states, representing 26 different organizations, traveled to Washington, D.C. for two days of meetings with Members of Congress to raise awareness and build support for urgently needed school discipline reform. The trip to Washington came less than a week after the release of an alarming study on school discipline by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG) and an announcement by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice that they will form a joint Supportive School Discipline Initiative to address the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’.

Participants met with their representatives to advocate for the principled reauthorization of ESEA and three key pieces of federal legislation: 

Dignity in Schools Campaign Princples for ESEA Reauthorization
The Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act (S. 919)(Harkin, D-IA)

Positive Behavior for Safe and Effective Schools Act

Restorative Justice in Schools Act (H.R. 415)(Cohen, D-TN)

Read our blog post about the trip.

Check out our fact sheets for more information on the federal legislation we supported.

Dignity in Schools Campaign Principles for ESEA Reauthorization

Students of color, students from low-income communities, and students with disabilities continue to be treated inequitably in the U.S. education system. Because the ESEA was originally passed to address just such disparities, Congress’s reauthorization of the ESEA must focus on ensuring equitable treatment of these groups. Anything less not only exacerbates the ongoing pushout crisis but also turns its back on the very purpose and spirit of this landmark legislation.

Check out our fact sheet on this federal legislation.

The Successful, Safe and Healthy Students Act (S. 919) (Harkin, D-IA)

The SSHSA provides a smarter, cost-effective approach for supporting the health and success of students and schools. Like the current Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act, this bill provides funding for efforts to promote physical and mental health, address bullying and harassment through preventive and positive practices, counter school violence and drug-use, and improve school climate. Unlike current law, the SSHSA will better target funding to the needs of districts and provide parents and educators the data they need to address issues unique to each school. This bill includes funding and technical assistance for implementing positive, preventive approaches to school discipline like restorative justice and school wide positive behavior supports.

Check out our fact sheet on this federal legislation.

Positive Behavior for Safe and Effective Schools Act

School wide positive behavior supports (SWPBS) is an evidence-based approach to school discipline that’s used in over 10,000 schools across the country. SWPBS is shown to reduce disciplinary referrals, improve school attendance rates, support gains in academic achievement, and improve teacher perceptions of safety and morale. This bill highlights SWPBS as an appropriate use of federal funds under several titles of the ESEA. The bill would also enable the US Department of Education to provide increased training to districts in best practices for school discipline.

Check out our fact sheet on this federal legislation.

Restorative Justice in Schools Act (H.R. 415)(Cohen, D-TN)

Restorative justice is an innovative approach to conflict resolution which shows promising results throughout the country and abroad. The Restorative Justice in Schools Act would allow school districts to use ESEA funding to train teachers and counselors in restorative justice and conflict resolution and help save countless hours lost to school discipline each school year.

Check out our fact sheet on this federal legislation.

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