Currently Philadelphia public schools employ punitive discipline policies and school policing practices. These policies and practices, although politically popular, are preventing large numbers of students from accessing an equal opportunity to learn. As one example, during the 2007-2008 school year 4,361 students were taken into police custody directly from school. Data from the 2008-2009 school year indicates that 18 high schools had over 50 out of school suspensions (OSS) per 100 students. Four had over 100 OSS’s per 100 students.
The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools (CNS) is a citywide, youth-led coalition that brings together youth from different organizations, neighborhoods, cultures, schools and languages to build their leadership and empower them to advocate for what they need to make their schools nonviolent. They work with the city and the state to make policy and practical changes that will create safer schools and communities.
Every year the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools trains youth and adults from around the city on what it would take to create nonviolent schools and communities.
This project funds a series of three training sessions across 3 months for youth across Philadelphia. Once a month CNS will create and host a workshop, as part of an ongoing series, on topics including but not limited to: ending bias violence, breaking down the school to prison pipeline, tools for implementing restorative practices, and creating a vision of nonviolence. Specifically the project funds materials, food, travel tokens and t-shirts. Each training can accommodate 30 youth and there will be one training a month for the three-month series.
The Campaign is working on the following fronts:
This can only be accomplished through strong working relationships with cabinet level staff members in the School District administration. Members of the Campaign sit on the School District’s Safety and Engagement Committee and youth from around the city have participated in forums to identify ways to improve school safety.
Policy change at the district level means very little if students and staff in the schools do not feel results every day. The Campaign is structured to empower students organizing in individual schools to build their power, in conjunction with staff and principals, to adopt and implement model Nonviolent Schools. As the vision develops, Nonviolent Schools may include the following: implementation of restorative practices with fidelity; student-led training of school police officers; student involvement in school budgeting process; school wide student satisfaction surveys every year; etc.
The Campaign has been successful in shifting public discourse about young people in our city, but there is still more work to be done. Only actively nonviolent students can demand serious changes in the way that discipline is handled in our district. The Campaign is building such a movement of students through trainings in nonviolent practice, theory and action throughout the city.
In two years, CNS has conducted two large community trainings and dozens of smaller youth trainings. At our community trainings they have connected with over 300 community members as well as dozens of community, city, state, and school district leaders. The community trainings have had a significant impact on their ability to make concrete changes in schools and city, including current work to change to school district’s code of conduct. There is also a larger population of community members and groups working to implement restorative justice in the communities.
With the youth- specific trainings, they have developed young people as public speakers and advocates for safe schools. Over 400 youth, in two years, have participated in trainings and dozens have become leaders and advocates in their schools. CNS tracks participation in each of the youth trainings and continue to engage trainees in CNS work throughout the year.
Trainings will be organized and run by The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools
West Chester, PA
Kenneth F. donated to Nonviolent Schools & Communities Training- Philly! - 5 months ago visit the project
Adam P. donated to Nonviolent Schools & Communities Training- Philly! - 5 months ago visit the project
Sarah A. donated to Nonviolent Schools & Communities Training- Philly! - 5 months ago visit the project
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