POSSA got 5 new co-sponsors due to our sign on letter last month! DSC and many of our members signed on to this letter to Congress in support of the federal bill to end corporal punishment (POSSA). The strategic focus right now is to get as many co-sponsors as possible so that they will be on record if the bill doesn’t move in the current session. We encourage everyone to reach out to their congressional representatives to ask them to co-sponsor (if they haven’t already), and if you signed on to the letter that makes a great lead-in in an email or phone conversation to encouraging them to co-sponsor. Contact [email protected] if you’d like a template email, help with setting up a meeting, or any other support.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Intent to Strengthen and Protect Rights for Students with Disabilities by Amending Regulations Implementing Section 504. As part of the development of the proposed amendments to the Section 504 regulations, the Department is soliciting public input. Interested parties may go to www.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/o
DSC Federal Legislative Priorities
- End Corporal Punishment! Protecting Our Students in Schools Act House (H.R. 3836), Senate (S. 2029) – for more info: ‘What They Are Saying’ Document, Bill One-Pager and Bill Text, Press Conference featuring DSC members Nollie Jenkins Family Center
- End Federal Money for Police in Schools! Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act ( H.R. 4011), Senate (S.2125 ) – for more info: Press release and digital toolkit from Murphy’s office, Kick off event video, Sign on letter.
- End Seclusion and Restraint! Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA) House (H.R. 3474), Senate (S.1858) – for more info: Stop Hurting Kids Fact sheet
DSC Statement on this suite of bills:
As youth, parents, educators, organizers, researchers, advocates and community leaders, we see the grave consequences of a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment, criminalization and removal in our schools every day. Harsh, discriminatory discipline and policing practices mean many youth are pushed out of school, funneled into the criminal justice system, and denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. This is particularly true for Black students and other students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, and other marginalized students.
The pandemic has made clear what we have always known: students’ academic development is intertwined with their social and emotional growth and mental health needs. Schools must create safe and supportive environments where all students can thrive, and yet students enter school buildings every day facing the prospect of being paddled, arrested, locked in a closet, or handcuffed. We cannot continue to allow this to happen.
In order to build true community and safety in school we urgently need to address these basic contradictions that we find in our schools: We cannot foster safety if we continue to allow students to be physically abused by school staff in the form of corporal punishment. Schools will not be welcoming, supportive environments for all as long as police patrol the halls and view young people as threats. Students cannot develop trusting relationships with adults that seclude and restrain them rather than meeting their needs.
Dignity in Schools Campaign supports these three bills:
- Protecting Our Students in Schools Act: House (H.R. 3836 ), Senate ( S. 2029)
- Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act: House ( H.R. 4011), Senate (S.2125)
- Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA): House (H.R. 3474), Senate (S.1858)
We still have so much work to do to create schools where all students can thrive. These bills provide an opportunity to address some of the most egregious human rights violations in our schools.
In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the most comprehensive federal education funding legislation, last passed in 2001 as No Child Left Behind.
Welcome to the DSC Federal Legislative Toolkit. Our goal is to offer a one-stop-shop of resources to assist you with your federal advocacy needs. We will update the page periodically to ensure you have the best, most recent and relevant information. Please contact us at info(at)dignityinschools.org if there is additional information that will assist you in your federal advocacy work.
The DSC Days at the Capitol brings together parents, students, educators and education advocates who seek to raise awareness and build support for urgently needed school discipline reform. For the Days at the Capitol, members of the DSC travel to Washington, D.C.
We develop federal policy recommendations and national action strategies for promoting positive alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, restorative practices, conflict resolution and mediation programs.