Communities Demand Counselors, Not Cops in Schools and Call for Positive School Discipline during National Week of Action

New York, NY – Parents, students, teachers and other members of the nationwide Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) are gearing up for a week of action, amplifying the call to replace school police and zero-tolerance discipline policies with approaches that build positive school climates and keep students in the classroom.

From October 20th to 28th, DSC members in more than 20 states will hold events as part of our 9th Annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout. Under the theme of ‘Counselors, Not Cops,’ local community-based organizations will hold rallies, teach-ins, community forums and marches to push back against punitive, zero-tolerance discipline policies and call for the removal of regularly stationed police officers in schools.

Events of all kinds are happening around the country: In Detroit, the Student Advocacy of Center of Michigan will facilitate a youth-led action at the Gubernatorial Debate. One PA will mobilize during a School Board Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. #Demand2LearnAZ is hosting a youth-led teach-in about the dangers of cops on campus in Phoenix, AZ. In Boston, Youth on Board and Boston-area Youth Organizing Project will host listening sessions with Boston Public School students about the impact of their schools’ discipline policies. Click here for information on local events taking place today!

Throughout the week, DSC members will lift up our national demands and share new tools and resources from across the country. On October 25th, DSC will release updates to our Model School Code on Education & Dignity, which presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout. Updates include model policies to stop the school-to-deportation pipeline for immigrant students, end racial bias in gang-profiling and remove police from school campuses.

The Week of Action culminates with a National Event in Chicago on October 27th–A Community Forum on School-Based Police Officers–hosted by DSC, Parents Organized to Win, Educate, Renew-Policy Action Council (POWER-PAC) and The Woman of God’s Design Ministry. Parents, youth and community leaders from Illinois, California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania will be joined by local policy-makers in Chicago for a discussion on police in schools.

DSC members across the country are calling for a shift in funding priorities away from hiring school police towards hiring more counselors and other school staff trained in positive and culturally relevant approaches, such as Restorative Justice and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS). These positive approaches focus on building healthy relationships between teachers and students and treating discipline as a teaching moment rather than an opportunity to punish and push students out of school.

Such methods have been found to improve behavior significantly, decrease suspensions and expulsions, and improve academic performance.

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The Dignity in Schools Campaign is a national coalition of over 100 organizations led by youth, parents, educators, civil rights leaders and social justice advocates that promote alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline policies and call for the removal of regularly stationed police officers in schools. The reliance on law enforcement and the use of suspensions and expulsions to address misbehavior result in higher suspension rates and referrals to law enforcement for students of color, often for minor misconduct, fueling a “school-to-prison” pipeline. You can find more information at