For more than a year, Dallas ISD parents, members of the Texas Organizing Project, have been working to change disciplinary policy in Dallas schools after seeing so many of their neighborhood’s young people, particularly African-American, Latino and special needs children, being pushed out of the classroom and often into our juvenile justice system.
A report released by the Council of State Governments confirms what DISD students and students across Texas have been experiencing firsthand, broken disciplinary systems with harsh punishment for minor infractions that have made our schools not places of learning and opportunity, but rather systems that funnel thousands of children into a cycle that often eventually leads to prison.
The report shows that 59% of Texas’ youth are suspended, expelled, or placed in an alternative education program at least once during their 7th through 12th grade years. The data shows that race, even when other student and campus demographics are controlled for, is a strong predictor for whether a child will get suspended or expelled for non-criminal, minor misbehavior. This reiterates a recent report by the policy group Texas Appleseed revealed that during a recent school year 62% of misdemeanor tickets at DISD were issued to black students even though they make up just 30% of enrollment.
Instead of criminalizing youth, we need to return our schools to a place of learning. That's why parents and community members of the Texas Organizing Project have been organizing and calling for Dallas ISD Board of Trustees for more than a year to implement district-wide a proven system that reinforces positive behavior and learning, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.
That's why TOP parents, grandparents and community members would like you to join them in asking that the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees commit to stand up for Dallas students by working to implement a Positive Behavior Interventions and Support system in the district and working to create a public, bi-annual report of disciplinary referrals by race, school and special education status.
WE NEED SOLUTIONS, NOT JUST PUNISHMENT!