For Immediate Release
Janurary 21st, 2020
New York, NY — In December of 2019, Massachusettes Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley introduced The Ending Punitive, Unfair, School-Based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (or PUSHOUT) Act, a proposed policy that aims to disrupt the school-to-confinement (aka School-to-Prison) pipeline by investing in safe and nurturing school environments for all students, especially girls of color. Specifically, the bill does this by:
- Establishing a Federal Interagency Taskforce to End School Pushout and examine its disproportionate impact on girls of color.
- Protecting the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and strengthening the Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
- Establishing $1.2 billion in new federal grants to support states and schools that commit to banning unfair and discriminatory school discipline practices and improve school climates
As the nation’s largest coalition working to end school pushout and the regular presence of law enforcement in schools, we envision school environments that work to prevent trauma, repair harm, promote healing, and that reject a culture of punishment and criminalization. Our membership believes this PUSHOUT bill is an important step in realizing that vision. Every year, over 2.8 million students in the United States are suspended from school, causing them to miss critical learning time, as well as opportunities to grow and succeed. Federal data shows that Black and Latino students and students with disabilities are disproportionately targeted by suspensions and expulsions; both. They are also likely to be punished more severely than white students for minor misbehavior, contributing to the achievement gap and high dropout rates for these students. We endorse this bill because we believe that we must collectively develop model school policies for school districts and legislators that guarantee fundamental human rights standards for quality education, participation, dignity, and freedom from discrimination.
The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. As a national coalition, the Dignity in Schools Campaign builds power amongst parents, youth, organizers, advocates and educators to transform their own communities, support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, criminalization and the dismantling of public schools, and fight racism and all forms of oppression.