Once again, passionate parents and dedicated community members came together on the town square in Lawrenceville to rally in support of reforms in school discipline across Gwinnett County and Georgia. The rally was part of the Dignity in Schools Campaign National Week of Action Against School Pushout.
More than two dozen students and adults converged to share information and raise awareness of the school to prison pipeline within the community. Gwinnett SToPP leader, Marlyn Tillman, discussed gains we have made as an organization. This year the organization’s Finding New Directions work-group proposed changes to the district fighting policy. Those changes eliminate vague language that allow for disproportionate responses from school administration and provide clearer definitions and guidelines regarding discipline around physical confrontation.
Pamela Perkins, representing Interfaith Children’s Movement, spoke about changes to state laws around discipline and the proposed Opportunity School District amendment and the dangers of moving school control out of the community.
Penny Poole of RevUp, encouraged the community to stay vigilant and engaged and most of all to make our voices known with our vote.
But we didn’t stop there. Gwinnett SToPP coalition members reiterated the shocking statistics that demonstrate that students of color continue to be unfairly targeted for harsh discipline. We called for policies that limit and eliminate suspension and expulsion. “We want education. No more incarceration,” was our rallying cry.
The rally was covered by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, helping us achieve our goal of raising awareness.
The Gwinnett SToPP Coalition is comprised of several partner organizations – American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, Atlanta Community Engagement Network (ACEN), and Interfaith Children’s Movement.
NOTE: This is an important event for us each year. As we head into the holiday season and look forward to the next Youth Leadership Institute in January 2017, we must consider funding necessary to continue this work. If you are able and value this work, please consider making Gwinnett SToPP part of your holiday giving.