Mobilize your GSA to fight for educational justice for all youth!
On #Ferguson: GSAs against criminalization
Will your GSA commit to fighting against criminalization of youth this year? Sign the National Youth Council's statement in response to the shooting of Michael Brown:
"On August 9, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
People and organizations have responded with shock, outrage, and solidarity, especially as the police have met the community’s nightly protests with rubber bullets, tear gas, and assault rifles.
But for us, as young people leading Gay-Straight Alliance clubs across the country – including in St. Louis – this murder did not come as a shock. We know what it is to be criminalized and we are outraged, but our outrage is not restricted to the Ferguson town limits or even the police force.
Michael Brown’s murder is one of many tragic expressions of a system that we fight to survive under every day. It is a system rooted in a historic pattern of racism, violence against the black community, as well as homophobia and transphobia. It is a system that criminalizes young people, pushing us out of school and into incarceration or death.
We do not only stand in solidarity with the community of Ferguson; we stand in active resistance to the systems of oppression that killed Michael Brown, terrorize his community, and have a devastating effect on all of our lives..." Keep reading the statement here!
#GSAs4Justice: demand restorative justice at your school!
If you're already set to start an educational justice campaign, we have one set up and ready to go:
In November 2013, Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender student from California, was charged with assault for defending herself against bullying at school. A year earlier, Dynasty Young in Indiana was expelled for bringing a stun gun to school after enduring months of harassment based on his sexual orientation and gender expression.
These high-profile cases — and the countless others happening across the country — never should have gone so far.
GSA Network launched a #GSAs4Justice campaign so that your GSA can demand that restorative justice, not jail, is the FIRST approach your district uses to resolve incidents of bias-based bullying.
We often hear about bullying in schools, but the anti-bullying and zero tolerance policies adopted in response pose just as much of a danger for LGBTQ youth of color. Together, hostile school environments and extreme disciplinary policies create a school-to-prison pipeline for youth of color, youth with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth, telling them that their lives are disposable and that simply trying to get an education carries a risk of jail time. LGBTQ youth make up just 5-7% of the youth population, but represent 15% of those in the juvenile justice system. Start a campaign demanding that restorative approaches, as outlined in a toolkit by the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, be implemented in your school. Go to: http://unite.gsanetwork.org/efforts/push-for-restorative-justice
More resources from GSA Network on school pushout and the school-to-prison pipeline:
GSA Network Statement in Support of Restorative Approaches to School Discipline
How GSAs can participate in the Dignity In Schools Campaign's National Week of Action on School Pushout
Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right: Why Zero Tolerance is Not the Solution to Bullying - report by the Advancement Project, the Alliance for Educational Justice, and GSA Network