National Week of Action on School Pushout

Gay-Straight Alliance Network and members of our National Association participated in the Dignity in Schools Campaign's 2013 Week of Action on School Pushout, Sept. 28 - Oct. 5. Learn more about school pushout and how we took action below!

GSAs can download our guide on school pushout and the Week of Action here.

The Dignity In Schools Campaign has a full list of events happening across the country this week, including rallies, gatherings, and marches by the statewide GSA networks in Missouri, Arkansas, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Colorado. [Read about the Missouri event here and a student perspective here!]

Together, GSA Network and members of our National Association also released a statement in support of restorative approaches to school discipline on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the restorative justice themed day of the Week of Action.

Read one GSA Network youth's experience with school pushout in The Advocate and listen to GSA Network youth talk about LGBTQ students and pushout in Tuesday's Dignity in Schools Campaign video:

What is “School Pushout?"

School Pushout = school policies, practices and procedures that make it more likely for students to leave school instead of finish it. 

These include “zero tolerance”, harsh discipline, unsafe schools, and schools with lots of police but little money or resources.  These policies are much more likely to impact LGBTQ students, students of color, immigrant students, and students with disabilities.  Students who get pushed out are more likely to end up in jail or juvenile detention.

Why is this important to LGBTQ youth?

Queer youth are more likely to be suspended and expelled, even for defending themselves or others from bullying like Cheyenne:

Cheyenne, a queer student and foster youth in CA, was suspended for "willful defiance" when she tried to stop the anti-gay bullying of another student. "As a foster child, if I get in trouble and am suspended, I can lose my ability to attend that school and I can also lose my foster home," said Cheyenne, who had to beg to be given an in-school suspension instead of being thrown out of school for two days.

  • According to the Journal of Pediatrics: “LGBT youth are up to three times more likely to experience criminal justice and school sanctions than straight students.”

     
  • And according to the Center for American Progress: “LGBTQ, and gender nonconforming youth are significantly over-represented in the juvenile justice system —approximately 300,000 LGBTQ youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 % are black or Latino. Though LGBTQ youth represent just 5% to 7% of the nation’s overall youth population, they compose 13% to 15% of those currently in the juvenile justice system.”

What is the Week of Action Against School Pushout?

On average, states spend $88,000 a year to incarcerate one youth, but only $10,000 to educate one.



During the week of Saturday, September 28th through Saturday, October 5th students across the country will be participating in actions, protests and demonstrations to end this trend and demand that communities: Invest in Solutions, Not Suspensions!  Counselors, Not Cops! The National Week of Action is organized by the Dignity in Schools Campaign.

We encourage all GSAs to share the message: #GSAs4justice push back against #SchoolPushout!

What can GSA clubs do?

Make a message meme like the one above andd share it on October 1st: Take a picture with your GSA, group of friends, or just yourself!  

1. Write this message on a sign, chalkboard, or white board: [NAME OF YOUR GSA/GROUP] pushes back against [ISSUE IN YOUR COMMUNITY]. Examples of issues you can address:

- School Pushout

- Suspensions

- Zero Tolerance

- the #School2Prison Pipeline

- Cops in Schools

- Criminalization

- Transphobic Policies

- Unfair Dress Codes

- Willful Defiance

If you don't want to name your GSA, or you're creating the meme on your own, write out the message: #GSAs4Justice push back against #SchoolPushout!

-- or --

Write what your GSA is "for!" Some ideas:

- [YOUR GSA] 4 #RestorativeJustice

- [YOUR GSA] 4 #CounselorsNotCops

- [YOUR GSA] 4 #SolutionsNotSuspensions

- [YOUR GSA] 4 Justice

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, #SchoolPushout, and #WoA2013. If you have trouble uploading the picture, you can email it to jill@gsanetwork.org.



Facebook: Go to GSA Network's Facebook page (or GSA Network of California, if you're in CA) for images that you can use to change your GSA's Facebook banner and profile to support the Week of Action and show you're a GSA 4 Justice!



GSA Speak Out! Host a youth speak out in your GSA about what issues are facing your GSA members.  Here are some sample questions: --Are any of us worried about not graduating or are considering testing out? -–Do we know LGBTQ youth who should go here but don’t any more? –Do we feel like we’ve gotten different discipline treatment from administrators than straight students?



Hold a Students Forum on School Pushout: Invite other student social or activist clubs at your school to a “Students Forum” on School Pushout in your school.

TIPS:

  • See if your local alternative or continuation school has LGBTQ students that would want to participate
  • Invite LGBTQ youth that have already dropped out or have been pushed out
  • Attend a local rally or event! Contact your regional staff person to see what local actions, rallies, or protests are happening during the week.

Go to Dignity In Schools Campaign for more information, posters, and materials: http://www.dignityinschools.org/our-work/week-of-action

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