The Dignity In Schools Campaign

The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation's schools. Pushout happens when youth are removed (or remove themselves) from a regular school setting as a result of policies and practices that discourage them from remaining in classrooms. The DSC advocates for the human right of every student to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC unites parents, youth, educators, and advocates in a campaign to promote local and national alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal. The ACLU is a member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign.


Policy Alternatives

The Alternatives to Zero-Tolerance Working Group is working to ensure school districts carry out positive school discipline reforms under the reauthorization of the The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind). The working group develops federal policy change recommendations and national action strategies for promoting positive alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, restorative practices, conflict resolution and mediation programs.

Model School Code

The DSC has developed a Model School Code that offers a framework based on four fundamental human rights: the Right to Education, Right to Participation, Right to Dignity, and Freedom from Discrimination. The Model School Code was created through working groups, meetings and conferences, and student, parent, teacher, school administrator, attorney, and policymaker input.

National Week of Action

The DSC organized actions around the country during the week of October 11-17, 2010. During the National Week of Action, communities around the country engaged in different local activities to bring people together and support local change. Activities include town hall meetings, community workshops, testimony before local school boards and city councils, and meetings with Members of Congress in local districts to advocate for federal legislation to stop pushout. You can watch video from the Week of Action as well as testimony on school pushout.




Resolution on School Pushout Introduced in Congress

On Friday, December 17, 2010, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a resolution inspired by the December 2009 Dignity in Schools Campaign National Resolution for Ending School Pushout, a call to action issued one year ago signed by more than 200 individuals and organizations from all 50 states. H. Res. 1777: Raising awareness of school pushout and promoting dignity in schools raises awareness of policies and practices that "disengage students from learning and remove them from the classroom, furthering a national crisis that is more accurately described as 'push out,' as opposed to 'drop out,' as children and youth are effectively pushed out of school."

Dignity in Schools Days at the Capitol 2011

During April 11-13, 2011, students, parents, community organizers and education advocates from California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania converged in Washington, DC for the Dignity in Schools Days at the Capitol 2011.

Lawmakers in Washington, DC are currently discussing proposals for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would limit federal accountability to the bottom 5% of low-performing schools and those with the largest achievement gaps among racial and other subgroups. Limiting accountability to this small percentage of schools would leave 95% of our schools exempt from federal oversight. If approved, these proposals could bring us dangerously close to pre-1965 (the year ESEA was enacted) levels where there was no federal accountability of public schools.

One of the main asks that the delegations brought to their members of congress was to demand that the reauthorization of the ESEA preserve meaningful federal accountability for 100% of our public schools and provide supportive, not punitive measures - such as Restorative Justice practices and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports - to improve learning environments and ensure the academic achievement of all young people. learn more


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