Texas Organizing Project parent leaders & their allies are victorious: Dallas ISD passes policy change to replace suspensions with solutions
The following statement was made by Chastity Masters, a parent leader with Texas Organizing Project’s education campaign and a Dallas ISD mother, in response to Dallas ISD trustees passing policy that will replace suspensions with research-based solutions to student discipline for children in pre-k through the second grade:
“Last night, Dallas ISD school board trustees rightfully stood on the side of justice and equity by passing policy to replace suspensions with real solutions to keep our youngest students in the classroom learning, rather than pushing them out of school, marking a significant win for families like mine.
“I’ll never forget when my four-year-old daughter Aaniyah was suspended from her elementary school in South Dallas nine years ago. She was only in pre-k when she received out-of-school suspension after a misunderstanding with one of her classmates. I remember thinking that there had to be a better way to correct her behavior than throwing her out of the classroom, keeping her from learning and being with her classmates. This never seemed right to me, so a few years later I joined other parents with the Texas Organizing Project to change the way our schools do student discipline.
“After taking a look at districtwide data, I was alarmed to find that in a district of 228 schools, out of school suspensions are on the rise for young students like Aaniyah, and about 54 percent of those went to Black boys, a disproportionate burden.
“That’s why I thank Dallas ISD trustee Miguel Solis for introducing this proposal that will equip teachers with the skills needed to correct behavior and teach students healthy ways of dealing with the root causes of their acting out, instead of just doling out school suspensions for our youngest kids. TOP parent leaders and our partners, including Texas Appleseed, the ACLU, Faith in Texas, CitySquare, the NAACP, and LULAC have been pushing for a change like this for years. This victory was a long time coming, and we look forward to building off of it to further curb the district’s pipeline to prison that keeps too many students from excelling in life.”
The Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a membership-based organization, works to build power through community organizing and civic engagement. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.