You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: SafeQualitySchools.org: Ending the School to Prison Pipeline.
Spring Valley High has elevated the public consciousness about violence against black women and girls as well as the prevalence of “school officers” as disciplinarians across the country. But as Ijeoma Oluo writes at The Establishment, the young girls sitting around the victim in the video aren't the only ones who weren’t surprised:
"To many, it’s shocking to see the officer throw the silent girl out of her seat onto the ground and drag her across the floor by her leg. To many, it’s shocking to see the teacher and school administrator stand by silently while one of their students is assaulted.
But this isn’t shocking to black women in America.”
As mentioned before on the show, violence against women of color is — to put it mildly — poorly covered. And possibly the only sub-topic of police violence covered less often is that perpetrated by the officers invited into our schools. We think of the school-to-prison pipeline as a general oppression and commodification of youth of color; as author Roxane Gay writes at The New York Times, it is much more than that:
"Schools are not merely sites of education, they are sites of control. In fact, they are sites of control well before they are sites of education. And for certain populations — students of color, working-class students, anyone on the margins — the sites of control in the school system can be incredibly restrictive, suffocating, perilous.”
The Advancement Project’s program “Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track” is dedicated to documenting and exposing zero tolerance and other harsh policies that contribute to violence like that at Spring Valley High; developing and implementing school discipline reform at the local level; and organizing national visibility campaigns pushing for broader reform.
At SafeQualitySchools.org, you can find the current campaigns and programs in your state as well as infographics to share and resources for students, parents, educators, law enforcement, and activists. Through a link on their home page you can also contribute personal stories detailing how the school to prison pipeline has affected you and/or your loved ones and neighbors. For inspiration and motivation, they also have a page of victories from around the country of law and policy changes.
As the Advancement Project infographic “What You Need To Know About #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh" states, these incidents are not uncommon. It’s time we demanded our education tax dollars actually be used to educate, not victimize. Visit SafeQualitySchools.org and get involved.
FOLLOW the #School2Prison thread.
SHARE the "School to Prison Pipeline by Advancement Project” video
CONTRIBUTE your stories: #School2Pipeline Stories
"America Doesn’t Care About Black Women And Girls” by Ijeoma Oluo at The Establishment
”A Short History of Cops Terrorizing Students” via The Nation
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich