CHICAGO – (ENEWSPF) -October 2, 2014. For the third time in five years, Project NIA is participating in the Dignity in Schools Campaign’s? National Week of Action on School Pushout (October 4-11). As an organization dedicated to juvenile justice, Project NIA works diligently to interrupt school pushout, which is often described as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
In 2014, the advocacy and organizing of Project NIA and other local groups, including COFI, VOYCE, and Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law (CLC), have achieved major victories in the fight to break this pipeline. The wins include:
1. An agreement from Chicago Public Schools to regularly provide and publish data about expulsions and suspensions
2. The passage of?SB 2793, requiring all Illinois schools to collect and publish information about school discipline and to create plans for improvements when needed
3. Significant enhanced focus on restorative practices in the Chicago Public Schools Student Code of Conduct, along with increased clarity and specificity in the policy
Tomorrow (Friday, October 3), Project NIA is releasing a white paper that documents these gains and as well as some ongoing challenges in creating positive futures for Chicago’s children. Paper can be accessed here:
Mariame Kaba, Project NIA’s founding director, said: “We and our colleagues across the city are encouraged by the progress that has been made in the past few months to increase school discipline data transparency and to revise formal policies that focused on punishment over learning. There is still much more work to do and more resources to be allocated for that work. These recent victories are just the beginning.”
During the Week of Action on October 8th at 6 pm, Project NIA is collaborating with Free Street Theatre for a unique event that will combine performance and experiential learning to educate participants about the dynamics and impacts of the school-to-prison pipeline (http://niastories.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/pushed-out-an-interactive-youth-led-experience-of-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/). The event to be held at the Village Leadership Academy has already reached capacity.