Fair and Just School Climate
Across the nation advocates, educators, parents, students and policymakers are recognizing the importance of fostering positive, healthy school climates. Increasingly, schools are moving away from harmful and counter-productive zero tolerance discipline policies and toward proven restorative approaches to addressing conflict in schools. Everyone thrives when a school community is a healthy living and learning climate for all.
The Latest on Fair and Just School Climate
In early October 2014, parents, students, teachers and community members attended a summit hosted by the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign. Watch this great video from the event and meet the dedicated members of this statewide campaign fighting for great public schools for all Arkansas students.
In California it costs $62,300 per year to imprison someone, but just $9,100 per year to teach a child. A new video from Californians for Safety and Justice challenges us to "do the math" when it comes to expanding the criminal justice system or investing in schools.
Many policymakers like to herald charter schools as the cure-all solution to a struggling public education system. But even if you wanted to attend one, a charter might not want you. Check out our latest infographic to find out why.
A new toolkit released today aims to help educators better understand what restorative practices are and how they foster safe learning environments through community building and constructive conflict resolution. The toolkit illustrates how restorative practices can be seamlessly integrated into the classroom, curriculum and culture of schools, and how they can help transform schools to support the growth and health of all students.
You can't improve a school by closing it. Here's what you can do instead. This is the final part of the OTL Campaign's infographic series on the issue of mass school closures.
As schools have started to abandon ineffective, zero-tolerance discipline policies, students and teachers are showing how alternatives like restorative justice can foster strong, supportive school communities. This video from Oakland, CA, features one such alternative, a student-led circle, in action. This is what school discipline reform can–and should–look like.
Students from the Morris Campus Student Leadership Council (at Bronx International High School in NYC) came together to write and create this video to promote peer mediation at their school. The song is called "Talk It Out," and the video was featured during the Youth Speak Out session at the recent AFT Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference in Los Angeles.
Padres y Jovenes Unidos, a Denver-based OTL ally, successfully pushed for legislation limiting the role of police in schools. The group was featured in a video series by the Public Interest Projects' Just and Fair Schools Fund, which profiles groups across the country who are making real headway in the fight to end harsh discipline policies and the school-to-prison pipeline.
A report from New York City Comptroller John Liu compares the city's pervasive use of zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools to the city's controversial and discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. While the report is particular to NYC schools, its analysis of the school pushout crisis and what needs to change can be readily applied to any district in the country, which makes it a terrific resources for advocates and organizers.
Growing Fairness is an upcoming documentary film, workshop series, and online toolkit resource for school communities to use as they begin the project of implementing restorative justice in classrooms. It tells the story of school climate, alternatives to punitive discipline, and the real impact of zero-tolerance on young people and school communities in New York and Oakland. The film and resources were created by Teachers Unite, one of the original members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, and will be available in full starting September 2013.