“What good does it do, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not prove it with actions?” James 2:14 (ISV)
As it relates to education, words without deeds infringe upon the moral and ethical obligation that we as parents and concerned citizens have to ensure the future of our youth. We cannot idly stand by and watch as our students are being denied access to the classroom by way of unfair disciplinary procedures that are better known as “zero-tolerance” policies. It is the implementation and enforcement of “zero-tolerance” policies that criminalize minor infractions of school rules, and unfortunately it is students of color that are particularly susceptible to this push-out trend, as well as the discriminatory application of discipline (The American Civil Liberties Union, 2015).
Therefore, the time has come for the voice of reason to speak out against the educational injustice that many students of color are being subjected to on a daily basis, which in fact has led to the creation of what may be considered a “school-to- prison pipeline.” The American Civil Liberties Union (2015) defined the “school-to- prison pipeline” as the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
A research project conduct by the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative (2014) revealed the fact that inequality in interactions between ethnicities has produced a discrepancy in the results of school disciplinary actions that have created an unfavorable educational atmosphere for many students of color.
Now ask yourself, “Who will be the voice for our overlooked, ostracized, and disproportionately affected students?”
We, as parents, neighbors, loved ones, and the community at large must speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves. Stand up, speak up, and join members of the Parent’s Political University, the Clergy Committee, and concerned citizens for a better Austin community, as we become that resounding voice of change for our students at the next Chicago Board of Education meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 10:30am.
Persons interested in becoming a part of, or receiving more information concerning this growing movement may contact Dr. Charles C Brown at (773) 626-8926.
- Charles C. Brown, PhD
Pastor, Professor of Psychology, Advisee to State Representative LaShawn K. Ford, and Illinois 8th District Chair of Higher Education