Hundreds of students and parents showed up in support for the launch of the “Every Student Matters” (ESM) campaign this past weekend at Cesar Chavez Park.
The campaign, led by the Building Healthy Communities Long Beach Youth Committee, began with the collection of over 1,700 surveys from Long Beach high school and middle school students around school climate.
The results of the survey helped the youth identify key goals to achieve in partnership with LBUSD:
▪ Piloting Restorative Justice practices and other alternatives to exclusionary, punitive discipline, especially in middle schools and high schools. Restorative Justice practices use dialogue in circles as both a proactive practice to prevent conflict as well as to respond to conflict and disciplinary matters.
▪ Developing a consistent discipline policy and framework for all LBUSD schools that provide overall guidance for school discipline practices with flexibility for school-site decision-making.
▪ Reducing the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of students of color, especially African American students.
▪ Reducing suspensions at schools where more than 10 percent of students have received suspensions by promoting alternatives that keep students in the classroom and schools.
“I have a minimum of 15 tardies and my friend has 30 or more. I’m the one getting discipline,” said Sayeg Hernandez, a ninth grader at Cabrillo High School who testified at the launch. “No one had sat down with me until the final discipline action where I was told I may have to go to Saturday school and go to court to pay a fine. I’m not the only person this can happen to; this can happen to anyone.”
The campaign organizers hope to take the issue to the state level in Sacramento in the next few months to lobby with legislators.
For more information about the campaign, like the page on Facebook.