Principles of Unity

As DSC members, we make our best efforts to apply the following Principles of Unity to our work together:

  1. We challenge the systemic problem of pushout in our nation’s schools and promote local and national alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, criminalization, punishment and removal.
  2. We advocate for the human rights of all young people to a quality education, to be treated with dignity, to be free from discrimination and to participate in decision-making that effects their education.
  3. Our coalition is made up of multiple stakeholder groups—youth, parents, educators, and advocates—and we strive to be led by people most affected by school pushout and zero-tolerance discipline: youth who have been suspended, expelled, pushed out or criminalized, and their families. We work with each other to expand our knowledge base and shift power to those most affected.
  4. We make sure that our members, and especially those most affected, own and make decisions about their stories, their analysis, their solutions, and their victories.
  5. We are building a strong, clear, and explicit analysis in our work at all levels, intentionally examining issues such as race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, religion, language and age. We regularly self reflect and evaluate our practices as we seek to challenge injustice, be it in ourselves, our organizations, our communities, or our movement.
  6. We put movement identity ahead of organizational identity. We are building a common set of political goals and strategies appropriate to building the leadership, participation, and influence of those most affected.
  7. Leadership development occurs at all times. We are not led by individual, charismatic leaders, but we have an accountable model of power sharing, power conscious, and collective leadership ethic.
  8. We support our work together by sharing information, knowledge, skills, relationships, funding strategies and opportunities, visibility, access, and political wisdom.