Louisiana Progress Draws Attention to School Pushout in Louisiana
Carrie Wooten of Louisiana Progress posted “Prison, punishment, and an opportunity for real educational change in Louisiana.” The blog post addresses the Broward County, FL school district and the national attention they have received for their efforts to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
Below are two excerpts from her post which highlight the issues with school pushout in Louisiana and the 2013 Safe and Successful Students Act as an attempt to correct the problem in our state.
“Louisiana Progress has identified the need to rethink zero tolerance policies before. Restorative justice practices, like those now being implemented in Broward County, could also benefit Louisiana’s schoolchildren. As we have discussed before, during the 2009-2010 school year, Avoyelles suspended over half of its students, while Recovery, Union, and Evangeline suspended over 20% of its students. Additionally, LaSalle, West Carroll, and Central Community had three of the highest disproportionate suspension rates for Black students. These are problems similar to Broward County, and they offer an opportunity to change the ways in which we are choosing to discipline our students. Louisiana Progress believes that all children deserve an education that supports them, rather than pushes them out.”
“Restorative justice in education is an issue that has garnered legislative attention in Louisiana over the past couple of years. During the 2013 legislative session, Representative Pat Smith introduced the Safe and Successful Students Act, which provided for disciplinary remedies that kept students in school, rather than pushed them out, through the use of restorative justice practices and positive, rather than punitive, school climates. The bill was ultimately voted down by the House of Representatives, but will likely be reintroduced during the 2014 session.”
Read more from Louisiana Progress on school pushout.
by Micah Caswell
As GLSEN continues to combat anti-LGBT bullying, harassment, and discrimination—we are also dedicated to eliminating school pushout, a critical component which needs to be taken into account when addressing school climate and school safety. Part of protecting students, particularly LGBT students and students of color is ensuring they are not pushed out of the educational system.
Several terms are used to describe student pushout including the school-to-prison pipeline. School-to-prison pipeline refers to policies that push students, especially those who are most at-risk of falling behind, out of schools and into the juvenile justice system. In many places, a lack of resources has forced schools to respond to discipline harshly, including suspensions and expulsions. As students fall behind in their coursework, they are more likely to become disengaged and eventually, drop out.
Many other students are caught in the vicious cycle of the juvenile justice system because their LGBT identity forces them to skip class or school as a way to avoid bullying and harassment. As they miss school and fall behind on their coursework, they are more likely to get end in the juvenile justice system. In fact, many LGBT youth end up in the courtroom on criminal charges because of being truant. GLSEN’s National School Climate Study found that approximately one-third of LGBT students have skipped school over safety concerns related to bullying or harassment. As a result,
That is why it is critical for communities to work toward supporting policies and practices that ensure students remain in school and in the classroom, including reducing out of school suspensions and eliminating detentions for minor infractions, redirecting funds toward counselors and other wrap-around services, and implementing restorative approaches. GLSEN hopes to work with Equality Louisiana and our partners during this upcoming legislative session to ensure that Louisiana’s students aren’t pushed out of school.
by Sarah Munshi
Public Policy Associate, GLSEN
Ashley Love wrote the following on July 6, 2010, about Stonewall and Sylvia Rivera and how the Stonewall story has been altered, essentially hijacked and edited to disregard the transgender community – especially trans people of color. I was dismayed when I first read it. Unfortunately, I found it to be true.
Today’s Louisiana LGBT advocacy and support groups have pledged to put an end of the all too common disregard for the transgender community. Well, most have. There is still a faction in New Orleans, LA, that will not yield to the lessons of history, and although they publicly state their actions are inclusive of transgender people, there is not a single trans person on any of their three boards – the 501(c)3, 501(c)4, or the Political Action Committee. Also, on the national level we still have to put pressure on the Human Rights Campaign to ensure the inclusion of our community.
I just want to keep the idea alive that prejudice is prejudice no matter what the source. With the National ENDA coming up for a vote any day in the Senate, I can’t say how important it is to remember that trans people are a part of the LGBT community and have always been at the forefront of the fight for equality.
President, Louisiana Trans Advocates