This theme has to do with levels of trust and quality of relationships between youth and adults in school. There are a lot of negative relationships between youth and teachers and we need to change that. Students get sent out of class and suspended a lot. We get disciplined for a lot of things that could be avoided if better communication and more trust existed in the first place.
Also, we are youth and we make mistakes. We need adults to help guide us when we make mistakes, not just punish us.
There is A LOT of racism in the way discipline happens in schools too: nationally and here in New London, Black and brown students get suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white students.
Issues happening now
Students just being suspended with no real guide through their actions
Students continually getting in trouble (with the fact of having home or other issues playing behind their actions)
Discipline system unfair
Too many students getting thrown out of class, suspended or put in PRR
Getting a reputation for being bad, changing that is hard
Not getting the support you need to succeed
Focus on discipline more than education
Teachers being disrespectful
ELL students get treated badly
Teachers being disrespectful to students
Dress Code- teachers and deans harassing students daily
Dress code- why should you lose class time for dress code
Late policy- why do you lose credit for being late?
Attendance policy- losing credits for being absent even if you’re passing the class
They care more about discipline than they do education
No restorative practices being practiced and in our schools even though a lot of staff have been trained
What we want and neeD
We’ve talked a LOT and we know we want restorative justice. We’re still figuring out what that really means. So far, it means circles in classrooms to build relationships; circles to resolve conflict (like fights or arguments) or conflict between teachers and students;
Instead of in-school suspension, for example, you get a restorative circle
People and staff more invested in the well-being of the students
Students being heard during certain situations; often our side of the story is never heard or taken into account
People actually trained to help do restorative justice in school
Anti Racism training for all teachers and staff