Hey my name is Amaiyah-Monet and I go to Central high school. I am the community and events manager for UrbEd. We are a Philly-based non-profit organization that advocates for fully-funded, safe, and healthy public schools in order to provide students with an equitable and quality education we LONG deserve. We heard you wanted a larger student presence and voice at board meetings so we are here to be heard and voice our opinions.
This week, when our team went to register we were only able to register two members before the form hit did not allow any more student registration, stating that it reached its speaker limit. We just now got the list of student speakers which only includes 7 speakers - not even half of the promised 15 speakers. I was happy to hear from the other students BUT how can you say that you want to hear more student feedback but continue to put a limit on our representation? And not even give us the full 15 promised spots?
I digress, today I am here to talk about the school districts' role in the School to prison pipeline system. A recent example is a Black girl from MCS who was suspended for arguing and when she came back she was expelled based on allegations. Then again at the same school a Black boy was denied access to both prom and graduation upon returning to school after being shot. His principal stated that he was a target insinuating that he would be a threat to students. However, police reassured the principal that the young man was not involved in anyway and was indeed not a target. The principal still would not budge. Even from my own experience I've witnessed Black students sent to disciplinary schools, suspended and expelled for doing small things such as heated discussions with peers, leaving class without permission, talking back in “aggressive” tone to the teacher and etcetera.
INSTEAD There needs to be more equity and restorative training. Teachers should know how to talk with and to students. Teachers should be able to resolve conflict without bias based on race, gender, ethnicity etcetera. And when I say training I mean training. Not just a meeting to tell teachers that being discriminatory and yelling at children is wrong. I can do that right now. There needs to be ongoing training in which you all follow up with these schools. Observe the teachers and see if they are actually implementing this training. Check to see if schools are practicing restorative practices and most importantly see how the children feel. Every child deserves the opportunity of an education and shouldn’t be revoked of that right because of a mistake, misconduct or ANYTHING at that matter.
Black students are children. We are not a threat and shouldnt be treated as such.