Over 80 people crowded into the Kingsley Center on Saturday morning to talk about school push-out! Organized by Pam Harbin (a Yinzercation steering committee member) and hosted by Great Public Schools Pittsburgh, the Education Law Center, and the Center for Third World Organizing, the event also featured state Rep. Ed Gainey and University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work professors Jeff Shook and Sara Goodkind (another steering committee member).
WESA-FM covered the event, quoting Dr. Shook explaining research that demonstrates the danger of placing disciplinary labels on young children: “This study finds that there’s an internalization of this label that’s related to subsequent behavior, but more importantly it also finds that authority figures, school figures and other authority figures, they’re more apt to apply that label once it’s initially applied.” He also indicated that suspension does not necessarily correct student behavior, while sending young people into the juvenile court system leads to significant negative outcomes.
Nancy Potter, a lawyer with the Education Law Center, told the group that research confirms, “high levels of suspension and zero tolerance policies not only hurt the student disciplined but hurts all students who feel they aren’t in a safe and nurturing environment.” She led one of the breakout sessions that discussed recommended changes to Pittsburgh’s student code of conduct. [WESA, 3-1-15]
Want to help keep the work going? Join us this Wednesday at the Carnegie Library in East Liberty at 4:30PM to make the recommendations from the meeting into a reality. The school push-out committee will be a working group focused on making and promoting the solutions to end school push-out in our schools! Light snacks will be provided. More information and RSVP here.