ENDING THE SCHOOL-TO-JAIL TRACK IN DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Standing at the vanguard of the nationwide movement to reform local school discipline policies, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos has won two crucial points of effective change in discipline practices: greater district accountability around policy implementation and a progressive, restorative discipline policy that is touted in districts across the country. Now we must continue to hold our local education officials accountable to ensure that Denver Public Schools implements hard-fought policy wins.
What is 'Know Your Rights!' Students should be in school, learning, instead of being criminalized with tickets, bench warrants and arrests.
Winning the Win
The passage of the 2008 discipline policy was a significant achievement for the entire Denver community and a victory for the youth and parents of Padres & Jóvenes Unidos. The leadership, public pressure, and advocacy of Padres members led to progress that benefitted many students and families.
But, despite reductions in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions district-wide since 2008, the District has still failed to fully implement the 2008 policy. Racial disparities and racist targeting of students of color still persist in all discipline categories - suspensions, expulsions, referrals to law enforcement. For this reason, Padres & Jovenes Unidos leads a discipline accountability campaign that aims to force Denver Public Schools to implement their discipline policy, one of the most progressive and restorative in the nation.
Where We Are
What is the Accountability Action Platform?
Jóvenes Unidos members presented Superintendent Tom Boasberg with a report card that graded DPS on seven different categories of discipline policy progress, giving them an overall grade of C-. Students pointed to data that showed increased referrals to law enforcement more unequal punishment for students of color, who were punished more often and more severely than their white peers.
1. Reduce police tickets and arrests
2. Rewrite the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between Denver Public Schools and Denver Police Department with the input of the community
3. End Racial Disparities
4. Improve Data Reporting to Monitor Implementation
5. Implement Restorative Justice for All
6. Train All Teachers & Administrators on the 2008 Discipline Policy
7. Create a Public Accountability Plan to Implement the Policy rewriting the inter-government agreement
As part of the Accountability Action Platform, Padres has pushed Denver Public Schools and the Denver Police Department to rewrite the contract - the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) - that specifies the role of police officers in schools. In summer 2012, students won a seat at the negotiating table to ensure that the new contract reflects community voice and input.
In September, students won several key points of the intergovernmental agreement, including language that limits the involvement of police and the use of tickets, arrests, and referrals to serious threats to school safety. Any student issues that do not represent threats to school safety (or felonious behavior) will be resolved in-school through the DPS discipline policy.