How to File a Uniform Complaint Procedure Form

When it comes to defending the civil rights of children, youth, and staff of any school district, do you know that there’s a California state mandated process called the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) that gives you the right to file a complaint with your school or district or ultimately the California State Department of Education to resolve injustices occurring in your school or district? 

The following is a brief summary of the UCP and the process for filing a complaint. This article does not address every aspect of the UCP process. You will need to investigate the particular procedures to follow for your school or district. However, if the process seems complicated, there are legal services that can assist you in filing a UCP complaint.

What the UCP Covers

The UCP complaint is a written and signed statement alleging a violation of select federal and state laws. 

The UCP addresses forms of discrimination including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Unlawful discrimination based on race, gender, or mental or physical disability
  • Sexual harassment
  • Health and safety complaints
  • Bullying and intimidation of a student or students
  • Disciplining of students
  • Homework policies and practices
  • Dress codes and uniforms
  • The selection of textbooks and materials
  • The lack of adequate textbooks and school materials

The UCP has been used to also address complaints for state and/or federal laws in the areas such as adult education, bilingual education, child care and development, course periods without education content, eduction for students in foster care and homeless children, migrant education, and lack of English Language Learner programs. 

When and How to File a Complaint

A complaint can be files on your own, but you can join forces with other parents whose child or children are impacted by forms of discrimination other violations the UCP covers.

Put your complaints in the form of a letter to your school or district administrator and/or school board representative. Be sure to include the names of school or district administrators. 

Every school and district (or what is legally called Local Education Agencies (LEA)) are required to post and make available Uniform Complaint Procedures. You want to first check your school’s or district’s website for a posting of the UCP form and process. At the end of this article, we include links to UCP procedures for a few schools and districts in the Central Valley.

Some districts have the complaint form available that you can review and fill it out. Some districts may not have a form. Here’s a sample form from the California Department of Education. You can also write the complaint as a letter.

Members of the Central Valley Movement Building team and associated legal services can also help you fill out the complaint form. 

What Happens Next 

  • After the form is submitted to the California Department of Education, the department will review the complaint to see if falls within the purview of UCP. 
  • The LEA (your school or district) must investigate the complaint or issue and provide a written response within 60 calendar days. 
  • The complaint is agreed upon by the LEA, the agency (school or district) is required to develop corrective plan of action. If the complaint is deemed not valid, the complaint is closed. 
  • If the complaint is deemed valid and the LEA fails to adequately address issues raised in the complaint, the complaint is referred back to the LEA once more to resolve within 20 calendar days. 
  • If the LEA doesn’t address and resolve the complaint, the State Superintendent (or his or her designee) may respond to the matter and may require corrective actions if it deems the complaint valid. 

Sample Complaint Forms and Postings  

Your Questions?

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read this article, let us know what questions you have about the Uniform Complaint Procedures. If you have experience using the UCP process, we would love to hear from you about that process went.

Central Valley Education Justice Forum Hosted in Fresno, CA

Over one hundred and forty parent activists, youth, and Central Valley organizations attended the annual Central Valley Movement Building (CVMB) Education Justice Forum hosted at the Falls Event Center in Fresno, CA.

The purpose of the CVMB forum is to create a unique space for networking, to increase awareness and engagement about school discipline reform, and to redefine a healthy school environment.

As part of CVMB’s mission, the annual forum critically examines the school-to-prison pipeline which hinders positive interactions for students in schools. Instead, punitive practices funnel students from schools into to the juvenile and adult criminal system, and essentially pushes them into prisons.

The forum drew together parents, community members, and youth from the nine Central Valley counties—Kern, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, South Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Tulare.

Groups and organization represented include the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the Black Parallel School Board, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, Fresno Barrio Unidos, Yo Cali!, Tower of Youth, Hmong Innovating Politics, and Merced Black Parallel School Board, Gay Straight Alliance, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Youth Leadership Institute, Fresno Metro Ministry, Dignity in School California, NoMedia, and Weaver Unified School District.

Keynote Speaker

Fresno native and community activist, Dayana Contreras, moderated the Education Justice Forum, and Reyna Castellanos provided professional translation and interpreting services.

Tia Martinez

The forum kicked off with a presentation by Carrie Ayala, CVMB’s own regional connector. Carrie provided an overview of the purpose and work of the CVMB and how it works to connect organizations and people throughout the Central Valley.

The next presenter was Tia Elena Martinez from Forward Change. Tia is currently an independent consultant doing work on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and transforming life changes for boys and men of color.

Tia’s presentation consisted of powerful data highlighting student suspensions and arrests occurring throughout schools and districts in the Central Valley. More importantly, she conveyed the urgent need for community organizing to eliminate punitive disciplinary practices, especially for vulnerable student populations such as foster students, Black students, and students with disabilities.

Know Your Rights Training

In order to inform participants about the law to better protect students in situations involving law enforcement, Nicole Bates, Julia Love, and Melina Hettiaratchi of Legal Services for Children, provided an informative and popular Know Your Rights training. Participants learned about the fourth and fifth amendment in relation to the educational system and the history of Student Resource Officers (SROs) on school campuses.

400%: Schools employing school police see increases in student offenses and school-based arrests by as much as 400%.

Though the intended purpose of the SROs is to “prevent crime and respond to emergency situations” on school campuses, the reality is that the increased police presence leads to more school based arrests and referrals to law enforcement, particularly for students of color, LGTBQ students, and students with disabilities. Cops on campus also result in the criminalization of minor student behavior in classrooms and schools in general.

Student Breakout Session

For the first time at CVMB, the annual forum included a breakout session for the 20+ student attendees. Students held small group discussions to discuss what supports and changes they would like to see in their schools in order to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline.

Thank You

On behalf of the Central Valley Movement Building Coordinating Team, and especially Maria Madril Hernandez who lead the preparation of the forum, we want to thank all those who participated. The work you do in your school and communities is instrumental to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline in the Central Valley and all of California.

 

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Why CVMB Backs Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS)

Members of the Central Valley Movement Building, a coalition that works with parents and education activists in regions of the Central Valley in California, are dismayed and concerned about the reported lack of confidence that Visalia Unified School District has in using Positive Behavior Intervention and Suports as a way to address disciplinary related issues in the classroom and schools.

The recently published article, the Visalia Times, titled “VUSD trustee: PBIS is broken, not worth fixing. Is he right?” raises more questions than it answers. Among the questions we have include:

  • What are parents and students saying about the reported incidents of misbehavior in schools?
  • What type of resources and supports (Third Tier) have schools been using to help students who are the most disruptive?
  • And how have schools and teachers tried to reach out to parents and invite them to be partners in creating a positive school climate?

We are aware that many teachers are calling for using school suspensions and expulsions as a form of behavior management, but research shows that these punitive policies and practices disproportionally impact Black and Brown students, and it means that the more time students miss school for whatever reason, the more likely those students will have difficulty graduating, and many will end up in juvenile detention centers or jails.

research shows that these punitive policies and practices disproportionally impact Black and Brown students, and it means that the more time students miss school for whatever reason, more likely those students will have difficulty graduating, and many will end up in juvenile detention centers or jails.

PBIS Properly Implemented

If PBIS is properly implemented it results in all students developing and learning social, emotional, and behavioral competence, which supports their academic engagement. Additionally, all educators develop positive, predictable, and safe environments that promote strong interpersonal relationships with students through teaching, modeling, and encouragement.

PBIS properly implemented also results in:

  • Reductions in major disciplinary infractions, antisocial behavior, and substance abuse
  • Reductions in aggressive behavior and improvements in emotional regulation.
  • Improvements in academic engagement and achievement
  • Improvements in perceptions of organizational health and school safety
  • Reductions in teacher and student reported bullying behavior and victimization
  • Improvements in perceptions of school climate
  • Reductions in teacher turnover

We think Visalia USD should review its PBIS programs, and actively partner with parents and community groups address issues of bullying, problems with classroom management, and other various complaints.

Examples of PBIS Resources

  • an on-site mental health clinic
  • art and music classes to help students express themselves
  • on-call support for teachers
  • ongoing professional training for teachers
  • behavior circles
  • student referrals to a psychologist or social worker
  • work and recreational supports for students
  • enrollment in a program teaching prosocial behavior or anger management participation in a restorative justice program
  • after-school programs that address special behavior issues or expose students to positive activities and behaviors
  • participation in an on-site or community-based restorative justice program

Our Recommendation

We think Visalia USD should review its PBIS programs, and actively partner with parents and community groups address issues of bullying, problems with classroom management, and other various complaints. No single solution will fix the problem.

CVMB Participates in Equity on the Mall 2019

Organized by the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, the Center at Sierra Health Foundation and community partners, including the Central Valley Movement Building, the annual Equity on the Mall was held in Sacramento on March 6th.

The event culminating at the State Capital included presentations by elected representatives community leaders, music, dance, spoken word and legislative visits about pressing issues impacting communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

As part of the Equity on the Mall event, a policy statement was released that focuses on Senate Bill SB 419, authored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, would do the following:

  • End Willful Defiance from the Education CodeSB 419 will improve student outcomes and encourage schools to adopt alternatives to suspensions and expulsions by:
  • Eliminating defiance/disruption suspensions and expulsions for students in grades 4-8;
  • Eliminating defiance/disruption suspensions and expulsions for students in grades 9-12 until January 1, 2025; and
  • Encouraging the use of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to help students gain critical social and emotional skills.

Download the Word Version of this statement, which includes footnotes to the sources.


Points

  1. In 2017-18, foster youth, Black students, and students with disabilities were four, three, and two times more likely to be suspended than their peers, respectively.
  2. State data reveal that students with disabilities were less than 13% of California’s student enrollment in the 2017-18 school year, yet they comprised 31% of disruption/defiance suspensions.
  3. Black students were less than 6% of enrollment, but nearly 16% of disruption/defiance suspensions in 2017-18.
  4. Further, research suggests that disparities in discipline for students of color are due in partto both unconscious and intentional discriminatory practices, which is particularly true for highly subjective offenses like disruption/defiance.
  5. Several studies confirm that Black students receive harsher punishments for minor and more subjective violations than White students. Studies also confirm that there is no evidence that Black students misbehave at higher rates.

Educational Justice — No LCFF Funding for SROs

Fueled by increasingly punitive approaches to student behavior such as “zero tolerance policies,” the past 20 years have seen an expansion in the presence of law enforcement, including school resource officers (SROs), in schools.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of school resource officers increased 38 percent between 1997 and 2007.1 Some cities, like New York City, employ more officers in schools than many small cities’ entire police force.

The question of school safety is about healthy educational environment.

The presence of SROs and cops on campus undermines the responsibility and agency of students, school administrators and staff, and the communities they serve to build transformative and positive school cultures that teach respect for students and commitment to student’s academic success.

In 2015/16, Central Valley school districts are among the top 5% of districts with the highest rates of school related arrests. In 2015-16, 158 student arrests were made in Sacramento City Unified, 159 in Fresno Unified School District, and in Clovis Unified, 114.

Reports also show a rising trend in students in disability being arrested. Central Valley districts represent only 23% of all districts with 1000 or more students, but 33% of the top 30 highest suspending districts for students with disabilities. 

Furthermore, in 2015/16 the Central Valley had 1,079,038 students enrolled, plus 607 full time police officers and 737 full-time security officers. There are more police officers and security guards in Central Valley schools (1,345 combined) than counselors (1,315.)

We need legislation that end the use of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds for School Resource Officers in school districts

The presence of SROs and referrals to police as feeding into the school-to-prison pipeline, we contend that the solutions to system-wide discrimination and violations of student rights requires not just changes in programs but also systemic changes in the culture of schools.

DOJ Settlement with Stockton Unified School District: Good Step Forward, But Not Far Enough

In January of 2019, the California Department of Justice settled a complaint against Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) for “system-wide violations of civil and constitutional rights of African American and Latino/a students and students with disabilities,” including high rates of referrals of these groups to law enforcement and on-campus arrests.

For Central Valley Movement Building (CVMB), one of our main objectives has been uniting and amplifying grassroots voices calling for the removal of Student Resource Officers (SROs) from schools throughout the Central Valley of California and across the nation. As part of our collective work with Dignity in Schools Campaign California,  CVMB released a press statement during the National Week of Action in October 2018 detailing not only high suspension rates of black and brown students in the Central Valley, but disproportionate rates of referral to law enforcement as well.

Click here to download the Press Release version of this statement.

Referrals to Laws Enforcement

In 2015-16 alone there were a reported 1,383 referrals to law enforcement in school districts including Elk Grove Unified (872 referrals), Stockton Unified (307 referrals) and Clovis Unified (203 referrals).

Furthermore in 2015-16, for the nearly 1.1 million students enrolled in Central Valley schools, districts employed only 1,315 counselors, versus 1,345 full-time police and security officers.

Considering such high rates of suspensions, referrals to the police, and arrests of black and brown students, including students with disabilities, we see the recent legal settlement with SUSD as a step forward in dismantling the ongoing discriminatory practices we have witnessed on campuses throughout the country.

The DOJ Settlement 

The settlement with SUSD includes five years of state monitoring of the district that requires staff and administrators to stop referring students to law enforcement for “low-level disciplinary conduct, including disorderly conduct, disturbance or disruption in school or public assemblies, school trespassing and loitering, use of profanity, and fighting that does not involve physical injury or a weapon.”

However, the settlement does not go far enough.

However, the settlement does not go far enough.

Although our communities have made strides to reform school discipline by way of interventions of parents, local education activist groups, Assembly Bill 420 (willful defiance), and programs like positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), statistical data still shows a repeated pattern of discrimination in suspensions and referrals to the police.

The data supports the argument that police on school campuses do not make our schools safer.

The presence of SROs on campus undermines the agency and responsibility of students, school administrators, and staff, as well as the communities they serve, to build transformative and positive school cultures that teach respect for students and commitment to academic success.

The presence of SROs on campus undermines the agency and responsibility of students, school administrators, and staff, as well as the communities they serve, to build transformative and positive school cultures that teach respect for students and commitment to academic success.

The settlement also calls for the creation of an Advisory Committee to include students, parents, educators, and community members for the purpose of providing “comments to the Department [DOJ] and the District on changes to [district] policies and procedures, the diversion program established alternative to citations and bookings, and submit recommendations to reduce the disproportionalities in the student referrals to law enforcement…”

Community Advisory Committee

CVMB agrees that the Advisory Committee is a crucial part of this agreement, and that it must be comprised of those who are truly representative of the community such as our partners at Fathers & Families of San Joaquin.

Nonetheless, we continue to see how the presence of SROs and referrals to police are feeding our children into the school-to-prison pipeline. Therefore we contend that the solution to system-wide discrimination and violations of student rights requires not just changes in programs but also systemic changes in the culture of schools and districts.

Counselors Not Cops

Instead of continuing to invest in the policing of schools, which does not make schools safer, we call for a commitment to community-centered alternatives like PBIS, cultural sensitivity training for administrators and teachers, and to shift money (including not using Local Control Funding Formula money) and resources away from contracts with the police departments and toward student support services like social workers and counselors.

We urge all the stakeholders in the Stockton area and throughout the Central Valley to monitor the progress of the DOJ settlement, and continue to demand accountability and action in order to remove the threat of SROs and similarly failed disciplinary procedures in order to make schools truly safer for our children.


Copies of the proposed final judgment and complaint, as filed with the court, are available here and here

CVMB Holds All-Partner Planning Meeting

Central Valley Movement Building held its second and last All-Partners Convening for this year, for the purposes for developing education activists goals for the Valley in 2019.

Representatives in the meeting included Fresno Barrio Undios , Fathers and Families of San Joaquin (Stockton), Black Parallel School Board (Sacramento), the Dolores Huerta Foundation (Arvin, Weedpatch, Lamont, Sanger, Palier, and Bakersfield), the Merced Black Parallel School Board, and activists from Lamont, Vineland, Arvin, and Madera.

Unlike the first convening held in April, this meeting focused primarily on planning for next year. Meeting participants grouped together to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, opportunities, and threats of their organization and education activist work.

All the groups have been building relationships with parents, schools and districts, and board members and superintendents in their respective areas around issues of racial discrimination, student referrals to police, and making recommendations to Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). 

Counselors Not Cops

All participants expressed deep concerns about the presence of School Resource Officers (SROs) on campuses. The presence of SROs contribute to a negative, punitive school climate, and they undermine the type of positive reinforcements, such as counselors and other support staff. 

CVMB Coordinating member, Carl Pinkston, provided recent 2015-16 data about the number of referrals to police in the Central Valley, including Sacramento.

Representatives of the Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, and the Merced Black Parallel School Board

Central Valley school districts are among the top 5% of districts with the highest rates of school related arrests. In 2015-16, 158 student arrests were made in Sacramento City Unified, 159 in Fresno Unified School District, and in Clovis Unified, 114. Reports also show a rising trend in students in disability being arrested. Central Valley districts represent only 23% of all districts with 1000 or more students, but 33% of the top 30 highest suspending districts for students with disabilities.

The National Association of School Resource Officers “estimates that there are 14,000 to 20,000 SROs nationwide.

The Root

SROs are typically paid law enforcement officers assigned to campuses, and extra tax dollars are budgeted for contracts with police departments monitor and give out referrals to students.

But as the Dignity in Schools Campaign California reiterated in last month’s National Week of Action, tax dollars and resources for schools should be used for counselors, not cops.

Members of the convening all agreed that focus must be to redefine school safety, which does not include SROs, but an effective implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), restorative justice programs, cultural sensitivity and classroom management training for teachers and staff, and building a positive school climate.

April Convening

Central Valley Movement Building will hold a larger convening in April focused on the challenges and strategies for parent organizing, including how to address the issues of cops on campus. 



CVMB Press Release: Counselors Not Cops

October 19, 2018

Press Statement For Immediate release through October 27, 2018
Subject: Central Valley Movement Building “Counselors-Not-Cops”
Contacts: (209) 286-7564/ email: cvmbconnector@gmail.com

“Counselors Not Cops: Dignity in Schools Campaign, CA – Week of Action”

Central Valley, CA.… As part of the National Week of Action Against School Pushout, the Central Valley Movement Building (CVMB) coalition, and community-based organizations from other parts of California, are holding a series of events and are sending out press releases focused on the theme and demand, “Counselors-Not-Cops: Rethinking School Safety.”

One of the reasons for the Week of Action, is that the Central Valley has the highest rates of in-and-out of school suspensions of all the regions and counties in California, that disproportionately impacts the poor, students with disabilities, LGBTQ youth and youth of color. (1)

The highest suspending districts in the Central Valley during school year 16-17 are Merced County Office of Education with a rate of 25 suspensions per 100 students and the Mojave Unified School District with a rate of 22 suspensions per 100 students. Suspensions are even occurring at the elementary level. Fairfax Elementary School District issued 81 suspensions for every 100 foster care students enrolled.  The Central Valley region has the highest suspension rates for Black students of all regions across state: 27 suspensions per 100 black students enrolled. The region has the highest suspension rates for a number of other student groups including foster youth (33 suspensions per 100 foster student) and students with disabilities, (21 suspensions per 100 students with disabilities enrolled). (2)

Suspensions and expulsions cut off students from the positive interactions of schools, also setting students up for a variety of negative life outcomes. School Resource Officers (SRO’s) interfere with the overall opportunity for students to learn, in some cases creating the very sense of fear and violence that they are supposed to prevent. Causing students to miss school or otherwise become disengaged from school sets off a chain reaction of missed opportunity that leads to a “school-to-prison pipeline” that ends in future justice involvement3.

In the Central Valley, Elk Grove Unified, Stockton Unified and Clovis Unified respectively had 873, 307, 203 referrals to law enforcement in 2015/16. The school related arrests during the same time period were lower, but still significant in other Central Valley districts, including Fresno Unified, 159, Sacramento City Unified, 158, Clovis Unified, 114 and Tulare City 56.

In 2015/16 the Central Valley had1,079,038.00 students enrolled plus 607 full time police officers and 737 full time security officers. There are more police officers and security guards in Central Valley schools (combined = 1,345) than counselors (1,315) (4).

Districts are prioritizing school police funding over student needs. For example, Clovis Unified pays for the salaries and supplies of its police department, including firearms and ammunition, with money earmarked for the needs of low-income, foster youth, and English learner students. The Clovis district LCAP includes approximately $1.5 million to fund school resource officers, with just over $741,000 of the allotted sum going to the salaries of 16 Clovis Unified Police Department officers, according to the District’s budget. District spokeswoman Kelly Avants said, on average the district spends around $3,600 on firearms and $2,281 on ammunition every year (5).

The Central Valley is an isolated and under-resourced region; however, CVMB will intentionally and collaboratively work with communities to address broad systemic and transformative changes by increasing awareness and engagement in school discipline reform and redefining school safety.

CVMB seeks to redefine school safety by asking all Central Valley school districts to do the following:

  • Adopt and implement policies designed to create a safe school culture (consisting of student/parent-led restorative justice circles resolutions.)
  • Adopt and implement alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices —including implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) programs, restorative practices, parent/community oversight, culturally responsive learning and positive school/community relationship.
  • Limit the use of School Resource Officers and other law enforcement interventions to criminal and emergency situations and provide clear policy guidelines upon which the presence of law enforcement personnel is allowed and interacts on campus.
  • Eliminate Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding for School Resource Officers and law enforcement, and instead provide adequate LCFF funding for counselors, social workers and intervention workers.

Central Valley Movement Building is a member of Dignity in Schools Campaign California (DSC CA) whose goal is to end the School-to-Prison pipeline and to radically embrace and fight for truly safe, holistic, and healing schools for all.

As local, state, and federal officials call to further police and militarize our schools, Central Valley Movement Building and Dignity in School Campaign California reject these false solutions and demand a new vision of transformational schooling emphasizes supporting students instead of suspending them and locking them up.

For more information about the Central Valley Movement Building please go to our website: www.cvmb.org or email us at : cvmbconnector@gmail.com. Also, for more information about the Dignity in School Campaign, California go to the website: https://dignityinschools-ca.org/

 

FOOTNOTES

  1. Central Valley includes all districts in the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare
  2. California Department of Education, DataQuest, 16/17
  3. Education under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools, Justice Policy Institute, November
  4. Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights, www.ed.gov/ocr
  5. https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article217308340.html

Central Valley Activities and Events for National Week of Action School Pushout

As part of the National Week of Action Against School Pushout, starting October 20-28th, and Dignity In Schools Campaign, California, Central Valley Movement Building members are hosting the following events and activities in the Central Valley. Other events and activities are being held in other regions in the state, and across the country.

Events and Activities

Rethink School Safety
Central Valley Movement Building
Press Release Statement “Counselors Not Cops: DSC CA, Week of Action”
Contact Carrie Ayala: (209) 286-7564/ email: cvmbconnector@gmail.com
Date: 10/20/2018
Time: 8:00 am

Restorative Justice Collaborative Community Forum
Black Parallel School Board
Dr. Jason Okonofua will be speaking on inequality-teacher student and race disparities in disciplinary actions against Black and Brown Students.
Date: 10/25/2018
Time: 4:00pm

Trunk or Read
Fathers & Families of San Joaquin
Event filled with fun for children and educational information to parents and community regarding literacy and education. We will be giving away candy, pumpkins, books, and I will be tabling at the event to hand out information related to Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline and dispelling myths.
Date: 10/26/2018
Time: 3:00pm

Removal of Student Resource Officers
Dolores Huerta Foundation
The Parlier Vecinos Unidos (United Neighbors) of the Dolores Huerta Foundation will be attending the Parlier Unified School Board meeting at Parlier Jr. High. Vecinos will be requesting the removal of LCAP funds for student resource officers and for the removal of the student resource officer.
Date: October 23
Time: 6:00pm

Social Media

Follow and Like CVMB Facebook Page

Link to DSC-CA Website

Follow and Like: DSC CA Facebook Page

Link to DSC National google docs with resources for National Week of Action

Link to DSC National with information about National Week of Action

Hash Tags for Week of Action

  • #CentralValley
  • #CVMB
  • #RethinkSchoolSafety
  • #StudentsNotSuspects
  • #ChangingtheNarrative
  • #PushHealingNotPushOut
  • #EndSchoolPushout
  • #EndSchooltoPrisonPipeline
  • #HealingforSafety

CVMB Is in Solidarity With the National Week of Action

Note: this statement is republished from Dignity in Schools Campaign California, in which Central Valley Movement Building is member of.

As a coalition, the Dignity in Schools Campaign California (DSC CA) is building grassroots leadership, movement, and political solidarity across the state to cast a new vision for public education, in which school safety shifts away from a culture of punishment to one of transformation, restoration, and healing. This vision is rooted in our shared and critical understanding of history, and our collective stand to repair its harm and say “Never Again”. 

Our Never Again 

Our “Never Again” is rooted in the Black-led Reconstruction and slave revolt that brought down chattel slavery and opened up the first public schools. Our “Never Again” abolished Jim Crow education and led the Chicano Blowouts. Organized by students, parents, and their broader communities, our “Never Again” birthed liberatory movements for ethnic studies, critical pedagogy, bilingual education, restorative justice and other transformative educational practices. Today, our “Never Again” rejects the school to prison and deportation pipeline and works to build a movement from the ground up, in California and nationwide.

As local, state and federal officials call to further police and militarize our schools, DSC CA rejects these false solutions and works to build a long-term movement with communities, students, and parents across the state. This movement is committed to ending all forms of violence in our schools, including those associated with policing, criminalization, and institutional racism, as well as those associated with guns.

Removing Cops From Schools

The Central Coast Movement Building (CCMB) team built a coalition of supporters, parents and students in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District focused on School Resource Officers in their schools. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District stretches from the city of Marina to the north to the city of Monterey to the south, and encompasses the communities of Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Sand City, and Seaside. The campus as of the 2017-18 enrolled 10,000 students.  Thanks to the CCMB organizing efforts and intensified work with community to address policing on campus, we forced the school district to reexamine the role of police in schools and successfully stopped Marina and Seaside from hiring police to patrol their campuses. 

Organizing Against Cops On Campus

In Oakland, the Black Organizing Project (BOP) knows that the school-to-prison pipeline is a direct response to the rise of Black Power and a direct attack on young people. In 2011 the Black Organizing Project formed the Bettering Our Schools System (BOSS) Campaign in response to the murder of Raheim Brown by the Oakland School Police Department (OSPD).

The campaign has been working to shift the narrative that police equals safety by calling for the full elimination of school police by 2020 and demanding that schools not contract with law enforcement. While we have been able to see some wins from temporary reforms such as —having a complaint process, eliminating suspensions for willful defiance and reducing the police budget—  we know that it will take a complete transformation of the public education systems culture to ensure schools are sanctuaries for the most impacted youth.

Since 2011 we have continued to be on the ground working with Black parents & students who have been negatively affected by the school to prison pipeline to seek transformative alternatives that will shift the culture in schools to one that is nonpunitive and values the lives of all children.

Building Solidarity

This is the way we build solidarity – aligning efforts across politically diverse regions and contexts to ensure that Black, Brown, indigenous, immigrant, LGBTQ, poor/working class communities of color across the state are included in our movement.  We are collectively aiming toward a “North Star” and working on the ground, community to community, to share our struggle, capacity, political lessons, and strategies to win change in even the most conservative of regions. 

National Week of Action 

Starting October 20th through October 28th, DSC CA allies in the Central Valley, Bay Area, Central Coast, Los Angeles, and Inland Valley regions Starting October 20th through will participate in the 9th annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout. This year’s theme, “Counselors Not Cops,” sends a resounding message to disrupt misplaced priorities and over-reliance on school police as the “only” solution to school safety.  

Our DSC CA events aim to dismantle law enforcement’s relationship with Black, Brown, indigenous, immigrant, LGBTQ, and poor/working-class schools. 

Community-based engagement and forums will be held on racial disparities in education, rethinking school safety, dispelling racial stereotypes and myths about our communities, student and family storytelling about experiences with counselors and police, building “sanctuary schools” grounded in Black & Brown solidarity and resistance to surveillance and forced removals, and monitoring the fidelity with which hard-fought, community policy victories for transforming school climate are being implemented.

This is not a moment.  This is history.  DSC CA is a coalition built for the long arm of struggle and resistance to radically embrace and fight for truly safe, holistic, and healing schools for all. 

Five Videos for Starting a Conversation About Restorative Justice Circles

One of the challenges of combatting zero tolerance policies and practices in schools requires providing an alternative methods of dealing with conflicts between students, students and teachers, and the lack of a positive and supportive school climate.

Central Valley Movement Building supports and advocates the use of the restorative justice models in schools and districts with a particular focus on what is called Restorative Justice Circles.

The traditional method of suspending and sending students home when they get into a fight or other altercations simply does not work to keep students in school or help develop mutual respect amongst students and the school in general. The goal should be that schools, teachers, staff and administrators help build a positive climate for students in which zero tolerance policies and countless stated and unstated rules are replaced by a climate of mutual respect and caring.

Five Selected Videos

The following are five chosen videos about restorative justice circles that provide an overview of how useful restorative justice circles work and the positive impact they can have in schools. If you find it useful, you might consider showing one of these videos to your group, classroom, or at a school board meetings. Strike up a conversations with your peers, fellow parents, and teachers about restorative justice circles in your school or district.

Restorative Circles: Creating a Safe Environment for Students to Reflect

A daily meeting provides space for students to reflect on their behavior and find positive ways to resolve conflicts.

Colorado high school replaces punishment with ‘talking circles’

At Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colo., students, parents and administration are meeting face-to-face to resolve student conflict with conversation. The number of physical altercations has taken a nosedive as this new type of disciplinary action, called “restorative justice,” replaces suspension. Hari Sreenivasan has the story.

The “Why” of Restorative Practices in Spokane Public Schools

Restorative Practices is an approach to promoting positive behaviors that focuses on understanding the conflict and how to repair the harm, rather than traditional discipline.

This video outlines how it works in Spokane Public Schools. Learn more at www.spokaneschools.org/Restorative.

Restorative Justice in Oakland Schools: Tier One. Community Building Circle

A pair of students at MetWest High School, an Oakland public school in Oakland, Calif., facilitate a community-building circle in their classroom.

Introducing Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth

RJOY’s mission is to fundamentally shift the way we respond to youthful wrongdoing from punitive approaches that inflict more harm to restorative approaches that repair it.