Amber Pulido is a GSA Network youth leader in California's Central Valley. Tuesday, Oct. 1 is the LGBT youth day of the Week of Action on School Pushout .
Pushout isn't just another word. School pushout is a system where my peers are getting pushed out of school and even arrested for fighting, "willful defiance," unreasonable dress codes, and the list goes on. This system is unfair and unjustifiable -- and this week, my GSA is taking a stand against it.
Students who are suspended even once in ninth grade are twice as likely not to graduate, and youth who do not finish high school are more than eight times more likely to go to prison. Although LGBTQ youth represent just 5-7% of the population, they represent 13-15% of those currently in the juvenile justice system. To know that my friends and peers are slowly working their way towards prison instead of graduation hurts me. To know that, on average, states spend $56,000 more on for incarcerating my peers rather educating them, is wrong. We should come to school to learn, not to be on a path towards prison. We have dreams bigger than prison and we want to share those dreams to the world, not to a stone gray wall.
My GSA at Hoover High School joined #GSAs4Justice across the country in standing up to this system. We can't just watch the students that are involved in this system head to jail. We need to make a change. We need knowledge, not prison. We need solutions, not suspensions. We need understanding staff, not pushout.
On Tuesday, October 1st, share a picture -- like the one my GSA made at Hoover High School or the others below -- showing that your GSA pushes back against pushout and stands with #GSAs4Justice. Join Gay-Straight Alliance Network for Diginity in Schools Campaign's Week of Action on School Pushout to stand up for students that are pulled into this system, because they want to graduate and fulfill their dreams also.
1. Write this message on a sign, chalkboard, or white board: [NAME OF YOUR GSA/GROUP] pushes back against [ISSUE IN YOUR COMMUNITY]. Click here for ideas!
2. Pose with the message and take a picture!
3. Upload your picture on Tuesday, October 1st to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr with the hashtags #GSAs4Justice and #SchoolPushout.