OUR MOVEMENT BUILDING APPROACH TO ENDING THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE
Launched in 2017, Dignity in Schools Campaign California (DSC CA) is a groundbreaking statewide movement building alliance focused on strengthening existing community-based leadership to dismantle the school to prison and deportation pipeline and improve health outcomes of young people in California. With ever-increasing presence and integration of law enforcement on school campuses, the threat of criminalization, incarceration, and deportation of Black, Indigenous, and families of color in California has compounded significantly. DSC CA believes that ending the school to prison and deportation pipeline requires political vision beyond campaigns. It is not enough to replicate policy campaigns that merely reduce harm and bring about programmatic supports—it calls on us to further dismantle the forces, systems, policies, and practices that uphold our society’s default response to poverty and non-whiteness: criminalization, punishment, suppression, detainment, incarceration, and permanent exclusion from participating in society. We must do the hard work of aligning our social systems to a set of liberatory values and principles. This will require nothing short of transforming schools and transforming society.
WHAT WE DO: WE CREATE LOCAL AND STATEWIDE STRATEGY THAT REPOSITIONS PARENTS, STUDENTS, FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES AS MOVEMENT LEADERS
DSC CA builds on the collective leadership of parents, youth, and the organizations they belong to to advocate for school climates that support the resilience and end the criminalization of vulnerable young people in our schools—Black, Indigenous, undocumented, Latinx, refugee, LGBTQ/gender non-conforming—and their families.
We work together to build local and statewide strategies that reposition parents, students, families, and communities as movement leaders to end the school to prison pipeline and move towards our shared north star of eliminating law enforcement presence and ideology from schools. This work requires study, critical reflection, self critique, humility, and above all accountability to the most marginalized so that strategies do not repeat past harms and mistakes caused by well-intentioned yet elitist reform efforts designed far away from the communities most impacted.
WERE WE WORK: STATEWIDE IS LOCAL, AND LOCAL IS STATEWIDE
Specifically, we work with communities who are targeted and left unprotected by federal, state, and local policies, practices, negligence, and/ or abusive enforcement of power in five key regions throughout the state: the Los Angeles, Bay Area, Inland Valley, Central Valley, and Central Coast regions.
Our work fundamentally requires an understanding of the underlying forces upholding the school to prison pipeline in order to put data and lived experiences into a well-informed context for strategy and action in the regions we work in. The capacity we build goes well beyond technical assistance—we build transformative capacity to lead, challenge, and design radical solutions on the ground to effect change throughout the state. Statewide is local, and local is statewide.