[:en]FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2017
Media Contact: Erin Parks, Communications Manager
House Bill 1210 is Dead, but the Issue Will Not Be Buried
Padres & Jóvenes Unidos will not stop fighting for equity in schools for the people who matter most, the children
Denver, CO - Padres & Jóvenes Unidos has been working in the community to end the school-to-prison pipeline for many years. The statewide push that we led in 2011 for discipline reform took several years to become law, but we did it!
Learning from our battles against inequity, we spent 18 months to build a Coalition to pass legislation that would severely limit the use of suspension and expulsion of children under the age of seven. Our research and parent testimonies revealed that there is in fact an issue with young Black and Brown boys in Colorado being suspended or expelled and pushed out of school. The rates were alarming.
By organizing diverse voices such as parents, developmental health professionals, researchers, educators, and school administrators, over 40 organizations came together and we were able to garner bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. After the bill passed through the House we had high hopes that the bill would pass the Senate. It was touted in the Capitol as “smart policy.”
We are incredibly disappointed to report that House Bill 1210 failed to pass the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee. Although we have made great progress in our efforts to address harsh discipline, the decision came down to a few individuals who simply did not get it. They were unable to understand the impact of suspending and expelling children for doing the things 4-year-olds do!
Some of the closing remarks from Committee members, were demonstrative of this, “We can’t spank our kids or wash their mouths with soap (in schools) and now we want to take (suspension) away,” stated Senator Marble who represents portions of Larimer, Weld, and Broomfield counties.
We know that we have more work to do to ensure that our leaders understand how pushing preschoolers out of school for minor infractions can harm them, and the community at large, long-term. We also know that sometimes our voices are drowned out by powerful interests, and that change does not happen overnight. However, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos is committed to speaking truth to power, to amplifying the voices of the people until we stop the use of harsh discipline in our schools!
To read the full ECE report, visit padresunidos.org/campaigns/publications
About Padres & Jóvenes Unidos: With roots in the struggle for educational justice, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos has evolved into a multi-issue organization led by people of color who work for college preparation for all students; Ending the School to Jail Track, ensuring all schools provide for the health and emotional well- being of their students; and immigrant student rights. Padres builds power to challenge the root causes of racism and inequity by exposing the basis for injustice and developing effective strategies to realize meaningful change. For more information, visit www.padresunidos.org.