RJN will announce emergency town hall meeting on education, mental health, and trauma
Dayton, Oh. (April 17, 2017) On Tuesday, April 18th at 6:00 pm Racial Justice NOW! will hold a Facebook Live event at Neighborhood Community School Westwood Elementary. The event is a part of the national #WeChoose campaign and will bring awareness to what is going on across the nation in the field of education. The Facebook live event will also address the response from Dayton Public Schools’ Board of Education regarding the handcuffing of a fourth-grade student, and RJN! will also announce the time, date, location, and subject matter of an upcoming emergency town hall meeting on education, mental health, and trauma.
On February 21st 2017, RJN! Organizing Director, Ty Alston, made the DPS school board aware of a report that he received from a parent involving an elementary school student being handcuffed for disruptive behavior. He asked that the board investigate this matter and asked them to stop elementary school children from being handcuffed. Mr. Alston followed up at the March DPS school board business meeting after receiving no response from the school board, yet again. RJN! continued their quest for justice by hosting a press conference on April 11 at Valerie Elementary school where the incident took place.
The DPS school board reluctantly discussed the handcuffing incident briefly the night of April 11th at the policy meeting. The board made no corrective actions or policy changes. The board and superintendent simply agreed that “protocol” was followed by school security and went further to say the child was in the foster care system and had a past history of behavior issues. The call to pause handcuffing was ignored and the meeting continued.
“I am saddened for the district. Dayton Public Schools will suffer immensely from your reckless and heartless decision to continue the emotionally traumatic experience of handcuffing youth. Juvenile jails stopped shackling juveniles in court based on one of the best practices against shackling (handcuffing) proposed by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys stating that “youth are impressionable and the indiscriminate use of restraints in court has been shown to influence juveniles such that it negatively impacts their future behavior.” These are youth charged with criminal behavior, yet you say it is ok in school as long a “protocol” is followed.” Quote from open letter by RJN Interim Director, H.A. Jabar:
RJN! is organizing parents and community members to call and email the DPS school board and superintendent and to also attend the DPS school board meeting on April 26, 2017 and policy meeting on March 9, 2017.
RJN! has demanded that the school board implement a “pause” in the handcuffing of elementary school students until they can find time to thoroughly discuss the issue publicly. Dissatisfied by the untimely response of the DPS school board, compounded by their statements on “following protocol”, RJN! has reached out their national allies to bring more attention to their plight. RJN! are members of the national coalition Dignity in Schools Campaign to stop the School-to-Prison- Pipeline and end school push out. They are also members of the Journey for Justice Alliance to win community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public school systems. Additionally, RJN! are members of the #WeChoose Campaign to support community driven school improvement instead of failed school privatization schemes. RJN! will be taking part in the #WeChoose campaign on #TaxDay, April 18th and alliance members will be sharing the handcuffing incident and the school board’s response all over the nation.
Racial Justice NOW! is committed to dismantling structural and institutional racism in all areas of people activity. Our primary focus is on the institution of education and lifting up the voices of dis-empowered Black parents and children. We are dedicated to stopping the School-to-Prison-Pipeline and focus specifically on holding institutions accountable to equitable distribution of resources and services to Black people in Dayton and around the State of Ohio.