February 16, 2016
Dayton, OH- Parents of Dayton Public Schools (DPS) students will be speaking at the upcoming school board meeting on February 16 at 6:00 p.m. to share concerns over the stationing of police officers in schools and DPS extra curricular activities. The meeting will be held at Dayton School Board offices at 115 South Ludlow. Members and allies of the local community-based organization Racial Justice NOW! (RJN!) believe that by stationing police officers in schools and at extra-curricular activities, students and parents will feel criminalized and believe that other community leaders should be present if there are concerns over safety in schools.
“As a parent of a DPS student, I don’t understand the reasoning behind stationing police officers at DPS extracurricular activities. If safety is a concern for DPS officials, they should partner with institutions like the Miami Valley Urban League of Greater Dayton to hire community intervention workers who would be a more appropriate fit to attend these events and who parents would feel more comfortable with,” saysZakiya Sankara-Jabar Director of RJN. “Concerns over police presence in schools is something that we are currently struggling with and believe that there are better ways to address safety in our schools.”
Jabar and other parents will urge the DPS school board to remove police from Dayton Public Schools and instead partner with community resources such as the Dayton Mediation Center, the Premier Health- ‘United Against Violence Initiative,’ and Sunlight Village who they believe will improve school climate and get to the root causes of problems students are facing. DPS is currently moving in the right direction by investing in restorative justice programs in various schools, however, RJN is calling for DPS to rehire restorative justice coordinators in all high schools to implement school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS). RJN will urge DPS to invest in these types of intervention workers over continual funding of school police.
RJN believes that the DPS school board must support schools to create safe and supportive climates for learning to build relationships with students, get to the root of problems in the school community, and prevent and address safety concerns in a way that protects the human rights of students, parents and school staff.
Contact: Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, (973) 825-1791, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Our mission is to advance parent leadership that ensures that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. Our work is especially focused on the public, charter, and vocational schools in the State of Ohio. We work from a political framework that is focused on systemic social change through racial justice and human rights fulfillment in public education. We want to impact how school discipline practices are being utilized as pushout mechanisms into the criminal justice system, leading to racial disparate impact and criminalization of African American families. We also want to impact how and what our children are taught, while working to keep the PUBLIC in public education.”