MCS is a school that believes in equality for everyone. Quality education is something that people often take for granted especially if they don’t know any one that has problems with their school. The way that many New York City schools and schools all over the country are being run is with zero tolerance policies. When we get into trouble at MCS, people will stop and talk to you and try to figure out what’s wrong why you did what you did. In schools were there are Zero Tolerance policies if you commit an infraction no matter the reason you there is already a set consequence. Students are being expelled for doing things that in the past a social worker would have dealt with. When children get suspended they are more likely to drop out and they will be at home were they could potentially get into more trouble. The other problem is that in schools where there are zero tolerance polices there are often also metal detectors. The metal detector in schools make the children feel criminalized in their school every day. When the schools have metal detector and police to deal with small infractions the school starts to feel more like a prison than a school. The police and metal detector don’t make people feel any safer they make them feel like criminals in a prison. After a while some kids start to think that if they are going to be treated like a criminal then they might as well act like one. MCS doesn’t have any police or metal detectors but we all still feel safe. We are a community and we all know each other so we really don’t have any fears as students of being harmed during school.
Some facts that move us to act:
- Zero tolerance policies mean that students are getting suspended for minor infractions including cell phone use and being late to class.
- Students who get suspended from school are more likely to drop out before graduating.
- Records show that black boys are more likely to be suspended for the same behaviors than other students and are 3.5 times more likely to be expelled.
- Students attending schools with metal detectors and police officers regularly end up in handcuffs for behaviors that are addressed by guidance counselors and administrators in other schools.
- There are 5100 police officers employed in NYC schools, which is more than all of the guidance counselors and social workers employed by NYC schools, and more police personnel than there are patrolling the streets in many major US cities.
- More than 60 percent of all school arrests in New York involve black youth, who comprise less than a third of enrolled students.
- An arrested student is twice as likely to drop out of school -- and dropouts are eight times more likely to land in jail.
- Dignity in Schools Campaign
- Student Safety Coalition
- Alliance for Quality Education
- Teachers Unite
- May 19-22: Travel to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
- May 1: Raffle
- April 11: Sidewalk bake sale, henna, letter writing
- April 5: Activism event for the MCS Community
- March 26: NYCLU Teen Activist Project leads a "What is Activism?" workshop for the fifth floor
- March 20: Guest Speaker Megan Hester from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform
- March 19: 5th Floor parent and student meeting about the activism project
- March 12: Participate in the Alliance for Quality Education No More Excuses Lobby Day in Albany, NY
- March 6: Lobbying role playing in history triplets
- March 5: Lobbying training with Lehman College MSW student
- February 27: Attend Manhattan Restorative Justice School Visit for teachers, students, parents and community members
- February 12: Workshop on School to Prison Pipeline with clips from Growing Fairness
- February 5: Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline workshop with Lauren Frederico of the NYCLU
- January 15: Workshop on who funds and decides on curriculum for public, private, parochial and charter schools
- December: Activism steering committee researches issues of inequity in education (including the school to prison pipeline, drop out rates, universal access to pre-k, school segregation, and the privatization of public schools
- November: Student presentations and vote on possible 2014 activism topics including gun control, AIDS/HIV, income inequality, animal rights and access to quality education
Tell Congress to Pass the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA)!
Over the last few years, young activists have brought national attention to the issue of rape on campus. In response congress members have proposed the CASA Act to reform how universities respond to and report sexual assaults at their schools. Our students decided to advocate for this bill. For more information on the bill see here: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/campus-sexual-assault
This year we have partnered with postcard.com so that anybody can upload an image and a message and it will be turned into 3 actual postcards that get mailed to our New York senators and the chair of the committee that will decide whether the Campus Accountability and Safety Act moves forward.
Please Watch their video promoting the campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=hksrzgCIrgU It's only a minute and a half.
Then go to this link: http://postcard.com/join-a-movement/28 to make a postcard.
Each image you upload will become 3 postcards.
Imagine when MCS students walk to the Senator's office and deliver hundreds of postcards with your messages on them! The more the merrier and if you know people who work on related issues please let them know.
Thank you and please spread the word!!!
Stop the School to Prison Pipeline in NYC
Sign on to support the Dignity in Schools Campaign's online petition!
Click the link below to make your voice heard.
Here is what the petition says:
We call on the New York City Mayor, Chancellor and Dept. of Education to:
1. Mandate Guidance Interventions, like counseling, mediation and restorative justice before suspension (except for the most serious behaviors).
2. Provide Trainings to All School Staff on the purpose and use of Guidance Interventions to prevent and reduce conflict and disruption.
3. End Suspensions for “Defying or Disobeying Authority”, a minor misbehavior that is the second most common reason for suspensions.
Tell Congress to Stop the School-To-Prison Pipeline
Sign on here:
This petition calls on Congress to:
Reform our zero-tolerance code of conduct policies and disciplinary system to be more progressive and place suspension and expulsion as a last resort in our public schools. Use a restorative justice model to address conflict in schools and respond to the needs and issues of students, parents, teachers and school personnel.