North Star/SOCIAL JUSTICE PURPOSE STATEMENT
The purpose of the Dignity In Schools Campaign California (DSC CA) is to deepen grassroots community-based understanding of the historical role and future implications of school discipline, the relationship between schools & law enforcement, and the dehumanizing impact of the public education system and expand our movement’s political opportunities to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, repair the intergenerational harm it has caused, and craft systemic alternatives for multiple generations.
DSC CA emerges out of a nearly 20-year movement to counter “zero tolerance” approaches to school discipline that result in the “school-to-prison pipeline”. The unprecedented rise in student removals from classrooms, along with the increased reliance on school policing, have only exacerbated racial and gender/gender identity-based disparities in educational outcomes, undermining community health in low-income communities of color even further. Research has demonstrated that one school suspension significantly decreases the likelihood of high school graduation, and increases the likelihood of contact with law enforcement and juvenile detention, which increases the odds of trauma, adult incarceration, and other forms of exploitation.
Public schools can serve to mitigate the consequences of, and/or reduce the harm caused by unmet health needs by fostering climates that promote: healthy engagement of students and families; restorative practices; social and emotional learning; and early identification of underlying physical and mental health needs that predicate behavior.