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Restoring justice: Community organizing to transform school discipline policies.

González, Thalia
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) U.C. Davis Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy. 15(1):1-36.

As the number and intensity of organizing efforts has grown, communities have begun to transform the nature of
school discipline in increasingly visible ways. These campaigns are not traditional education reform efforts, but
rather are propelled by forces outside the school system, like the traditionally disenfranchised communities underserved
by public schools. Through local community organizing, a number of alternative prevention and intervention strategies
have been implemented across the country. The scope of this article is therefore twofold: first, to broadly consider community
organizing for school discipline policy reform and second, to highlight the specific impact of an organizing
campaign that led to the implementation of a restorative justice program and adoption of a new school discipline policy
in Denver, Colorado. This multifaceted strategy for education reform, restorative justice program implementation and
district-wide discipline policy change, not only focuses on eliminating unnecessary suspensions, expulsions and ticketing
of students, but promotes healthier school communities while positively impacting larger issues of school safety, high
dropout and low graduation rates. Part I provides an introduction to and context for community organizing for school
discipline policy reform. Part II outlines the negative *6 impacts of punitive school discipline policies. Part III presents a
broad foundation for understanding community organizing for school discipline policy reform. Part IV discusses the
multi-year organizing campaign of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos for school discipline policy reform in Denver, Colorado.
Part V explores the impact of the restorative justice program and the new discipline policy in Denver Public Schools
District. Part VI considers the role that community organizing for school discipline policy reform will play in creating a
sustainable solution to restoring justice in public schools. (excerpt)


AbstractCourtsPolicePolicyRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and Students
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