Voices from Sacramento as Legislators Make Critical Votes
Parents, students and educators made the trek to Sacramento on July 27 from Los Angeles, Oakland, Vallejo, and all over California. They were there to tell legislators why bills to change school discipline rules are so critical.
And in a marathon day and night of telling their stories to legislators they helped win the passage of 4 bills in key committee votes. Bills requiring the highest-suspending schools to adopt alternatives like positive behavior support and restorative justice (SB 1235), to make sure student’s education isn’t interrupted if they enter the juvenile justice system (SB 1088), to give administrators discretion to increas school attendance (AB 2616) and to provide better data about school suspensions and expulsions (AB 2145) all passed out of committee!
Youth, parents and advocates from our partners at Children’s Defense Fund – California, CADRE, Youth Justice Coalition and Community Rights Campaign came out — some traveling overnight to be there!
Read more voices from Sacramento:
“They are kicking kids out of school for being late or not having a pencil. We want to stop that. Sacramento is a long way from Los Angeles. Maybe hearing stories from students and parents will jar them into taking action.”
— Edward Madison, a CADRE core parent who has two elementary students in Los Angeles schools
“We need to hold transformative justice circles. It’s not an easy solution like just suspending someone. You have to put your heart into it, put your soul into it. It’s a weird thing called talking, it really works.”
— Julio Marquez, a youth organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition and student at Free L.A. High School
“You never know what’s going on with someone outside of school, what’s going on in their lives. At my new school, teachers are always there and they push us. They actually call you when you’re not there.”
— Keidra Johnson, student at Free L.A. High School and youth organizer with the Youth Justice Coalition
“Suspension is trying to find an easy fix for students who are acting out. It works better to find out what’s going on in people’s lives.” –Jerry Gonzales, student at Miguel Contreras Learning Center and Beat the Odds scholarship finalist with Children’s Defense Fund
“Suspensions don’t work. Oftentimes they give students a vacation for a few days and none of those issues have been dealt with so they are festering. Restorative justice looks like you’re giving up your perceived power. It sounds like a slap on the wrist. But in reality it’s much harder to stand in front of your victim and say, ‘I was wrong.'”
— Eric Butler, parent of two children in Oakland schools and school coordinator for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth