Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education
The California Chapter
Created, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith
Music composed and performed by Marcus Shelby
Directed by Leah C. Gardiner
Special Presentation · Roda Theatre
July 11–August 2, 2015
Running time: approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, including two 15-minute intermissions. Due to the interactive nature of act two, actual run time may vary.
Playwright, actor, and educator Anna Deavere Smith garnered a 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Obama and a MacArthur Award for her incisive and astounding theatrical investigations—from racial tension with law enforcement (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992) to the deficiencies in our health care system in Let Me Down Easy. Now she turns her attention to “the school-to-prison pipeline,” which, by pushing children out of the classroom into the criminal justice system, has created a lost generation of youth from poor communities. In act one, Anna performs striking portraits culled from interviews she conducted with nearly 150 individuals in Northern California and elsewhere in the nation, affected by the pipeline’s devastating policies—capturing the dynamics of a rapidly shifting social issue through her trademark performance technique. She will be joined by Bay Area favorite, jazz musician Marcus Shelby. Act two…involves you! Anna invites the audience to engage in facilitated reflections and be active agents of change. With the compelling and inspiring Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, Anna Deavere Smith believes that we all have the imagination, the wit, and the heart to make a difference.
Notes From the Field: Doing Time In Education, The California Chapter was developed in The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work.
Anna Deavere Smith · Creator / Writer
Leah C. Gardiner · Director
John Arnone · Scenic Design
Ann Hould-Ward · Costume Design
Alexander V. Nichols · Lighting & Projection Design
Dan Moses Schreier · Sound Design
Alisa Solomon · Dramaturg
Amy Stoller · Dialect Coach
Michael Leon Thomas · Movement Coach
Cynthia Cahill · Stage Manager
Daniel Rattner · Research / Onstage Assistant
Anna Deavere Smith · Performer
Marcus Shelby · Composer / Bassist
“Transforming herself into many different people, remarkably re-created from her extensive interviews, [Anna Deavere Smith] draws indelible connections between the high rates of incarceration of marginalized youth and other national problems in a manner as eye-opening and provocative as it is sure-handed and emotionally moving…Smith weaves her interviews into an extraordinary tapestry, depicting everything from the school-to-prison pipeline, with educators and African American, Latino and Yurok youth describing how school discipline infractions land kids in jail, to ever-larger issues of public policy: how our justice system works and the trauma of growing up in crime-ridden neighborhoods…The subject grows as wide as the fabric of society, but the artistry makes the expansion work, with director Leah C. Gardiner’s smooth segues and potent use of background video clips and composer Marcus Shelby’s bluesy deep bass lines. Smith’s transformative powers are so great that you almost don’t notice how even the shape of her face changes to fit each character, as her mouth and cheeks expand to conform with the person’s speech patterns…Her portraits…are guaranteed to stick in your mind and alter your thinking long after you’ve dried your eyes.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“What’s truly radical about this piece, gently directed by Leah C. Gardiner, is that Smith outlines the issues in the first act but she turns the debate over to the audience in the second act, leaving up to us to frame the discourse…Forcing the audience to engage is a bold and ambitious move that’s nothing if not groundbreaking. And that of course is Smith’s métier…In the theater she is famed as an innovator who has striven to take documentary theater to new heights. Here she is experimenting at the crossroads of art and public policy…Unforgettable characters…”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“The overall effect of Notes from the Field is hopeful. Anna Deavere Smith is doing what she can do and doing it incredibly well. We are called upon to commit to a single action to help make change, and that’s a hopeful directive as well. But the biggest take away comes as you exit the theater full of emotion and information and with the enthusiasm to, as one of the characters puts it, step into ‘wide awakeness.’”—Theater Dogs
From Michael Leibert Artistic Director Tony Taccone
For the past 20 years, Anna Deavere Smith has created a series of plays designed to catalyze public discourse about the nature of American society. Interweaving monologues culled from hundreds of interviews, each play presents an eclectic array of characters speaking in every imaginable idiom. What emerges is a complicated and colorful tapestry of contradictions, both engaging and entertaining. Dealing with our most combustible issues (race, class, and our collective future), these plays have become nodal points of historical reference. And Anna has emerged as a singular artist capable of creating, sustaining, and leading real civic dialogue.
Tonight, Ms. Smith takes the form one step further, inviting us into a different level of participation. It’s a grand experiment, designed to convert art into action. It’s perfect for Berkeley. And the time is now.
From Anna Deavere Smith
A conference room in New York City, Fall 2010: Several social-justice experts were discussing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline.” I was there just to listen. Tale after tale centered on alarming levels of punishment placed on youths who misbehaved in school: handcuffs on 5-year-olds having tantrums, arrests of teenagers doing things that were not anything to be proud of, but not violent (likely pranks in their minds). The next morning, I was sitting in hair and makeup for the TV show Nurse Jackie next to fellow actress Eve Best, a Brit who has a way with words. I shared an anecdote or two. “Well, whatever happened to mischief?” she asked. “That’s right!” I agreed. “Privileged kids get mischief. Poor kids get pathologized.”
I hit the road in 2013 and started recording people as they discussed how poverty was affecting their schools and the disciplinary practices in them: Northern California, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. It did not take long to have my lens open onto a much bigger picture of poverty and its consequences on the emotional, physical, and intellectual development of youths, both inside and outside of school. There are in fact many pipelines to prison. I have seen—especially in my hometown of Baltimore—how the punitive aggression young people experience lines up with a relationship to policing in their communities. This is something, due to current technologies, that you the public have witnessed frequently this year, starting with events in Ferguson.
With this play, I seek to have a nontraditional relationship with you. I bring the work to the stage at a midway point—not quite “finished.” I don’t want the bells and whistles of theatre to cover this problem with aesthetics; I want to sound an alarm. I see the theatre as a convening place, where you, for the most part strangers to one another, can come together to exchange ideas, suggest solutions, and possibly, when I’m gone, mobilize around what should be done. That’s why I am dedicating a full half of the evening—tonight’s Act 2—to audience discussion.
We have an urgent economic, moral, security problem in front of us as Americans: Racial and economic inequality. Tackling it requires nothing less than a robust, re-invigorated public will. The change starts with you.
From Marcus Shelby
Over the past year I have had the greatest honor of my life working with Anna Deavere Smith on her School-to-Prison Pipeline Project. I have learned a great deal from her about communication and empathy. Both are central to the blues form given to us by our ancestors, who found a creative way to express hope, determination, and identity in the face of overwhelming oppression. The musical score for my work is born out of this blues tradition, which includes call and response, improvisation, inflection, and tension and release. I have found the power of the blues in all of Anna Deavere Smith’s past work, so this is a natural form for us to work with. Each of the individuals whom Anna Deavere Smith interviewed has a personal and succinct musicality that embodies the very essence of the blues—triumph over tragedy. The music aims to provide a soulful addition to Anna’s words. The subject material for the School-to-Prison Pipeline Project has personally inspired me to fight for reform using my creative tools. I am eternally grateful to Anna Deavere Smith for this opportunity. Thank you to the entire production team for your love and talents.
The school-to-prison pipeline
The school-to-prison pipeline refers to a variety of ways in which children, especially poor children in urban environments, find themselves on pathways to prison. Many experts say that public schools, underfunded and out of date, are ill-equipped to deal with the multiple needs of contemporary youths. The pipeline is fed by “zero-tolerance” policies, intended to keep schools free of drugs and weapons by imposing severe punishments, like year-long suspensions, for infractions, no matter what the circumstances. Rather than improving school safety, these policies have ended up criminalizing all kinds of rule-breaking or disruptive activities that previously would have been handled by child-appropriate measures like trips to the principal’s or guidance counselor’s office. Students have been suspended or expelled at high rates over the last two decades. When young people are not in school, they are, quite simply, likely to be in trouble. Data shows that zero-tolerance discipline disproportionately targets students of color and those with a history of abuse, neglect, poverty, or learning disabilities. Beyond school walls, these same populations are disproportionately profiled, arrested, and responded to with violence by police.
The broader context
School discipline policies are not the only cause of the crises affecting American schoolchildren. Too many students grow up in environments that are not conducive to learning: they are surrounded by violence and poverty, suffer from trauma and physical and mental health challenges, lack the self-regulation that school culture requires, and are bereft of hope and a sense of purpose. Public schools, meanwhile, starved for resources and forced to focus on high-stakes testing, place unrealistic expectations on teachers. Often schools must cede disciplinary matters to police officers stationed in their buildings through federal and local initiatives, even as counselors and nurses are eliminated from school staff due to budget cuts. Despite the commitment and expertise of dedicated educators, schools can become places where students encounter the same arbitrary, over-aggressive policing they face in their communities. Activists say that students come to perceive the school system as emphasizing control and punishment over a stimulating educational experience, and to sense that they are being prepared more for prison than for lives as engaged, imaginative, productive citizens. Many advocates, educators, and health professionals have suggested that we need to shift resources spent on the “back end”—the building of prisons and youth facilities—to the front end—richer, more deeply endowed schools, as well as support for early childhood and for pre-natal care, and, importantly, support and growth opportunities for parents.
Today, new technologies—smart-phone cameras, social media—have made more visible to the general public the problems these young people are facing. Videos of abuses go viral and impact events as they unfold; organizers wielding these technological tools reveal the urgency and dignity of struggle and expand the ranks of those who are urging change.
On the right path
The U.S. Department of Justice has investigated—and even sued—several states for violating the rights of children funneled into juvenile justice systems for minor infractions.
Last year the U.S. Department of Justice, along with the U.S. Department of Education, published guidelines aimed at both curbing harsh, discriminatory over-punishments imposed for school discipline violations, and fostering safe, inclusive, and positive learning environments while keeping students in school.
“By ensuring federal civil rights protections, offering alternatives to exclusionary discipline and providing useful information to school resource officers, we can keep America’s young people safe and on the right path,” said Attorney General Eric Holder when the guidelines were released.
Listening to language
By Philippa Kelly
Language is one of the most powerful tools by which to create, justify, and maintain inequities. Language can screen truths that, if seen or acknowledged, may cost us money or some other form of privilege. One of the most profound human fears is that of abandonment (a + bandon = at will + to give up power to): just as language can unite us in common understandings, language can also isolate us.
New words most often emerge as versions of established words. Shakespeare knew and understood this. He invented thousands of words, most of them extensions, abbreviations, or new parts of speech that involved words already used in the lexicon—amazement, assassination, fitful, bloody, changeful, dishearten—by which to explore the shifts and ambiguities of humanness. By attending to language and by understanding how plastic it is, we can change the way we think and feel. Via language, we can dismantle and reformulate our perceptions and values. Below are a few terms that demarcate [hu]man-made inequities. Please keep in mind, as you read, that as societies change, so too does the language that represents and shapes them: these terms are as mutable as is our world. Glossaries are, in the end, just words, written by people.
For this reason you will also find below links to a number of glossaries. Differences in glosses, we hope, will stimulate your own thought and decision-making. What definition resonates most clearly to you, and why? Considering this question can lead each of us to recognize places where we have been individually, and collectively, deaf and blind.
Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Race refers to a group of people who trace their ancestry back to a certain location which gave them common physical characteristics.
Ethnicity refers to cultural factors, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language. One might refer to a black or white race, but to German or Scottish ethnicity.
Implicit bias is a positive or negative mental attitude held at an unconscious level towards a person, thing, or group. In contrast, an explicit bias is an attitude that somebody is consciously aware of having. (Stanford University School of Medicine)
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely or predominantly upon their marginalized group membership. (Psychology Today) A person may have no intention of committing this kind of aggression, and yet still it may occur because a wound has been caused. A common microaggression would be mistaking one black person for another (“They’re both black—I got confused.”), or sharing a “joke” that is received as a hurt—for example, mimicking a person’s walk, lisp, or accent.
Tolerance: what one sees as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial, or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. (dictionary.com)
Racial tolerance: involving the many underlying factors that create a gulf of opportunity between racial groups—for example, property ownership, education, class.
A hate crime is the victimization of an individual based on that individual’s race, religion, national origin, ethnic identification, gender, or sexual orientation.
See also the following glossaries (and we encourage you to seek out more on the web).
An invitation from Anna
Anna Deavere Smith invites you to Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, The California Chapter.
Photos courtesy of kevinberne.com
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Alternatives and models for change:
Learn, engage, take action
A variety of local organizations are working for educational and economic justice. We offer a preliminary list here.
Listing does not necessarily imply endorsement.
Several bills have been introduced in the California State Legislature that address the School-to-Prison Pipeline. To make your voice heard, go to the websites.
- The use of solitary confinement—where a person is placed alone in a locked sleep room or cell—is a practice widely defined as torture. Its injurious effects on the mental health of those confined include increased risk for suicide. SB 124 seeks to curb its overuse and abuse in juvenile facilities, ensuring that solitary confinement be used only when a young person poses an immediate and substantial risk of harm to others or to the security of the facility, and when all other less restrictive options have been attempted and exhausted. Under SB 124, a child can be held in solitary confinement for only the minimum time necessary to address that safety risk, not to exceed four hours. This bill would also increase transparency, empowering county juvenile justice commissions to report on the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities.
- The Train the Trainer Program will create a statewide network of trainers to provide school staff with the support they need—and to get children the assistance they need. Trainers will share best practices in restorative justice, trauma and mental health counseling, and positive behavior support, and show how to create safe, bias- and discrimination-free spaces for students struggling most with behavior that impedes learning.
- The Train the Trainer Program provides support for school populations most in need of social and emotional learning practices—schools whose budgets can least likely afford it. Trainers will also develop statewide tools and resources about these research-based approaches that keep students in school and learning and off the school-to-jailhouse track. SB 463 is cosponsored by Public Counsel, California Association of School Psychologists, and Policy Link.
- This bill would make it free to seal juvenile records in California, so that young people will be Starting Over Strong when they turn 18 and apply for jobs, school, housing, and other opportunities. SB 504 is co-sponsored by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Youth Justice Coalition, East Bay Community Law Center, and the California Public Defenders Association.
- The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation authored by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) to cut short the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” and reduce youth incarceration in America.
- This Frontline article looks at a Texas county where truancy is a criminal offense, and how that policy disproportionately harms low-income children, blacks and Latinos, and those with disabilities.
Go-to sites for information and updates
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—Sign up for breaking news on the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
- Southern Poverty Law Center—Go to this site for latest news on children at risk, publications, and case docket highlights.
- My Prop 47 includes instruction for Californians who wish to remove certain nonviolent felonies from their old criminal records, as allowed under Prop 47.
Behavioral, social, and emotional growth
Several methods in use at some schools—and available to all—aim to create a safe, supportive, and intellectually challenging school environment. Learn more about them here.
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, it addresses the school-wide culture, inside the classroom and out.
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills assist students in recognizing and managing difficult emotions, establishing positive relationships, and handling challenging situations.
- Cue-Centered Treatment for Youth Exposed to Interpersonal Violence integrates cognitive and behavioral interventions with other supportive methods to reduce post-traumatic symptoms in children ages eight and older.
Go-to sites for information and updates
- Teaching Tolerance—Where did Zero Tolerance come from? What are its effects on our kids?
- NEA Today—Learn some uncomfortable truths and stats about race, disability, and the pipeline: this damaging discrimination is operating even in our preschools.
- Kirwan Institute works to deepen understanding of the causes of—and solutions to—racial and ethnic disparities worldwide. This issue brief focusses on implicit bias in school discipline.
- Civil Rights Data Collection—Race, disability, and gender factor in to school discipline, restraint, and seclusion stats. Black kids with disabilities are four times as likely to be suspended as their white non-disabled counterparts. Details also on pre-school suspensions.
- Amala Foundation offers youth a unique blend of SEL programs and cross-cultural connection aimed at providing the next generation of leaders with a model of inclusion, compassion, commitment, and service to their communities.
Restorative justice and peer courts
As an alternative to suspensions and expulsion, restorative justice brings the student who committed an infraction together with the victim(s) of the act to seek to repair the harm through a cooperative process. Peer courts set up student juries as an alternative to juvenile court. Both practices model understanding and accountability and lead to reconciliation and rehabilitation.
In the Oakland Unified School District, restorative justice has radically reduced suspensions over the past three years. It has also contributed to increased graduation rates, improved reading levels, and a reduction in chronic absences and drop-out rates. Learn more about it here.
Engage in the work of advocacy groups
- Ella Baker Center for Human Rights advances racial and economic justice to ensure dignity and opportunity for low-income people and people of color.
- Green For All works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.
- Black Organizing Project is working for racial, social, and economic justice through grassroots community organizing and policy change.
- Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all.
- My Brother’s Keeper is the initiative from President Obama’s White House to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color, ensuring that all young people can reach their full potential. Through its MBK Community Challenge, the program encourages communities (cities, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement a coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategy for improving the life outcomes of all young people to ensure that they can reach their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or the circumstances into which they are born. Find out how your community can participate—and how you can sign up to be a mentor.
- The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story—Many girls who experience sexual abuse are routed into the juvenile justice system because of their victimization.
- Reentry Solutions Group helps create a peaceful, safe, and supportive Contra Costa County by organizing, educating, and mobilizing the community to prevent and heal the harms related to crime and incarceration. In doing this work, RSG recognizes and values all members of the community, including those who are involved in the criminal justice system, survivors, and families.
- Further The Work advances social justice by maximizing the capacity and efficacy of nonprofit, educational, and philanthropic organizations that are working for the greater good. Seizing the opportunities provided by prison realignment (AB 109), Further The Work has been a leader in Contra Costa County’s responses to justice reinvestment.
- Aim High, a tuition-free five-week summer enrichment program for low-income middle school students, is recognized nationally as the “gold standard” for redressing summer learning loss.
- A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is an advocate for an abused and neglected child in foster care.
- We Teach Science Foundation was formed in 2008 to inspire K–12 students to excel in math and science.
- Prison University Project is a donation-funded program that provides college-level education to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, the only California prison with a college program.
- Roots of Empathy’s mission is to build caring, peaceful, and civil societies through the development of empathy in children and adults.
- Donors Choose is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need through school donations.
- Grads of Life helps get people without college/resources into the workforce.
- Root and Rebound works to ensure that people in reentry have access to justice and opportunity to become productive, healthy, and integrated members of our diverse and shared society.
- Bay Area Industrial Areas Foundation brings together ordinary people and their institutions to be agents of systemic change through full participation in public life.
- POPS the Club’s mission is to provide a safe space for high school students who are struggling with the pain of the prison system and to nourish those students in body and spirit, offering support, community, and opportunities for expression.
- The Berkeley Public Schools Fund invests directly in teachers’ ideas and creativity with classroom and districtwide program grants and volunteer support in the classroom.
- Insight-Out organizes initiatives that create personal and systemic change to transform violence and suffering into opportunities for learning and healing.
- The basis of the Healthy Generations Project is protecting children from trauma to reduce the impact of stress on their cognitive, emotional, and long-term health.
- North Bay Children’s Center provides comprehensive high-quality child care and early education programs fueled by its vision of excellence and a spirit of innovation.
- RTIPs (Restorative Trauma-Informed Practices) by Catholic Charities of the East Bay provides training, coaching, consultation, and capacity building to schools in the WCCUSD in restorative justice practices with the goal of reducing the use of disciplinary practices that disengage students from the classroom and/or school.
- AccessEd Foundation is a grassroots organization in Berkeley that was started by a group of educators and family activists to give historically under-resourced families access to the social capital that keeps kids in school and on a path to a productive future.
- Santa Fe ¡YouthWorks! is a non-profit, community-based organization that creates opportunities for disconnected youth and families in Northern New Mexico to become engaged and valued members of their communities.
Support local youth-led efforts
- African American Male Achievement creates systems, structures, and spaces that seek to guarantee success for all.
- Youth Speaks creates safe spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of societal change.
Support medical and mental health programs
- The Center for Youth Wellness, led by founder and CEO Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, is part of a national effort to revolutionize pediatric medicine and transform the way society responds to kids exposed to significant adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress.
- Ravenswood Family Health Center serves a diverse and constantly changing population of low-income families and uninsured residents in South San Mateo County, seeking to improve the health of the community by providing culturally sensitive, integrated primary and preventative health care to all, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status, and collaborating with community partners to address the social determinants of health.
- Bay Area Children’s Association defines its mission as revolutionizing the treatment of mental illness in youth. Its main goal is to provide patients with greater access to outstanding scientific, empathic mental health services, regardless of sociodemographic status.
- Jewish Family and Children’s Services of the East Bay provides trauma-informed early childhood mental health consultation and family support to children ages birth to five in underserved preschools and transitional kindergartens in Oakland.
Go-to sites for information and updates
- Population Reference Bureau informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.
- Youth ALIVE!, based in Oakland, believes that urban youth have the innate capacity to stop the violence plaguing our communities. Every day, they nurture leadership and life skills of young people affected by violence because addressing the root causes of violence saves lives.
- Girls, Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. All girls matter.
- Children’s Defense Fund—Sign up for actions you can take to end child poverty in our rich nation.
- Transition Clinic Network helps recently released prisoners to gain re-entry skills, employment, and dignity. They’ve paid their debt. Help them re-join society.
- Bureau of Land Management’s youth initiatives feature a variety of programs that build on the spark of childhood wonder about the natural world and develop into long-term engagement and stewardship.
- California College Pathways has helped thousands of foster youth succeed in college and career and is poised to assist thousands more.
- Oakland Strokes—Oakland, specifically the Fruitvale district, is an area where many youth come from undocumented families, live below the poverty line, are unable to swim, and do not have the resources to access sports like rowing. Oakland Strokes gives underserved youth an opportunity to discover rowing, covering expenses.
- Hand in Hand’s mission is to provide parents with insights, skills, and support they need to listen to and connect with their children in a way that allows each child to thrive.
- Allies for Racial Equality’s website has links for people who want to discuss race and injustice.
- Child Watch Column
This column focuses on “Hanging onto Hope to Keep Black Men and Boys Alive.”
- Zócalo Public Square
A former prosecutor describes building a place designed to keep kids out of prison.
- Huffington Post
“Black Students In The U.S. Get Criminalized While White Students Get Treatment”
This article looks at “7 Ways to Turn Your Anger Over Sandra Bland Into Action In Support of Incarcerated (and Formerly Incarcerated) Black Women.”
- New York Times
This opinion piece reflects on the Confederate flag and Atticus Finch.
- NEA Today
The National Association for Education reports on the passing of the Every Child Achieves Act, which starts to close the door on No Child Left Behind. Also see this document about ECAA created by the American Federation of Teachers.
Budget allocates $10 million for training in positive discipline.
- Mother Jones
This article asks, what if everything we knew about disciplining kids was wrong?
- The Guardian
Reforms to the Pipeline are taking a pass on our girls.
980 kids from Oakland schools visited the emergency ward due to gunshot wounds in 2013.
- Politico Magazine
Police officers a “taxi service” to detention centers.
This article asks, what would be a radically different vision of school?
- Aces Too High News
El Dorado school uses trauma-informed and restorative practices; suspensions drop by 89%.
- Los Angeles Times
California schools issue more suspensions than diplomas each year.
- New York Times
Some students have been suspended for talking back, taking a cellphone to class, or violating a dress code. Even chewing gum, for a minority student, has resulted in a suspension.
This report looks at kids’ views on race.
- Daily Journal
A child was found talking to his mother on a cell phone—his mother was deployed in Iraq, yet her son was expelled for the perceived “infraction.”