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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Stop the Pandemic’s School Pushout – Dignity in Schools Campaign California

Stop the Pandemic’s School Pushout – Dignity in Schools Campaign California


Parent Racial Justice Demands for Emergency Schooling During COVID19
Who We Are
We are the parents, grandparents, foster parents, families and guardians of the children and youth of color whose voices have been missing from schools’ response to this pandemic.  We will not have politicians and administrators talking about us or talking over us about what they think our schools need to do.  
These are our demands.  We expect our school districts and state agencies to read them with urgency and bring back to us their plans for concrete action. 

Feel free to download and share these demands
We know what our schools need to do because COVID19 is hitting our communities in a targeted way.  We are the “essential workers” on the frontlines–nothing would still be running without us and without our work. We are domestic workers, bus drivers, health care aides, janitors, childcare providers, day laborers, farmworkers, rideshare and instacart delivery drivers.  We are these and so much more.
As communities, we are speaking for children and families whom schools won’t hear unless we raise our voices. We are the survivors of a 40-year war against the Black community in the form of mass incarceration, disenfranchisement and joblessness. We are facing now-illegal evictions and water and electricity shut-offs and we are flying under the radar because we are homeless.  We are currently incarcerated and on probation or parole.  We are undocumented.  
Long before the arrival of this virus, we have been fighting to stop our children from being pushed out of school and denied their right to education.  The call now rising across the state for “Counselors, Not Cops” began with our organizations over a decade ago.  Through Dignity In Schools Campaign California, we dare to imagine and fight for an education system that loves our children the way we do.
Through it all, we have each other’s backs. We are communities standing in solidarity with each other and we will not stand aside and watch our children and families fall through the cracks of this education system.  There is more at stake for our children than “falling behind” while schools are closed.  Before the pandemic we were already “behind by design,” routed from racially segregated neighborhoods into underfunded and overpoliced schools.   Under the pandemic, we are in a fight to stop the death of our children’s education. On top of the policing and pushout that our children’s bodies have always been subjected to, we are seeing physical punishment and incarceration being extended into a mental and spiritual incarceration through the COVID19 lockdown and isolation.

Emergency Education, the New Pushout and the Lie of “Remote Learning”

We reject all attempts to call what schools are now providing to our children as anything but  emergency education.  To call it “distance learning” or “remote learning” only hides how completely inadequate and discriminatory it is.  From cities to rural areas, while white and wealthier families move ahead, our students and families are left in confusion, waiting and shut out.  
School districts remain deeply disconnected from what our students and families need.  Whether it’s how to get laptops and high-speed internet access for online classrooms or how to continue IEPs and mental health services during the pandemic, or how to support students who are homeless or in foster care.  Schools are scrambling to figure out how to reach our folks.  They refuse to meet our communities’ needs.  
None of this is news to us.  These are the same public school systems that have always pushed out and criminalized our Black, Indigenous, Brown, and LGBTQ students and families.   The racialized patterns of death from COVID-19 in our regions, map directly onto the myriad ways our communities are already subjected to poverty, discrimination, and poor health.  In the same way, the harms from COVID-19-related school closures fall heaviest on those of us already suffering the brunt of a failing education system.  
The pandemic has pulled the mask off of the structural racism and poverty that have always dominated our lives– from education to jobs, from healthcare to housing.  And COVID19 exposes the complete failure of this society’s political leadership to address these problems.  All of a sudden, our governments are moving to prevent evictions and they are unlocking the gates of their prisons and jails.  Why wasn’t this done before? They always told us they couldn’t do these things.  And now we know the truth.  We will not accept any excuses that our demands are not “realistic.”  We demand action.

Our Demands CONTINUE READING: Stop the Pandemic’s School Pushout – Dignity in Schools Campaign California