We are making a Full Court Press Against #SchoolPushOut!
On December 9th, teams of educators and students from our cohort schools will be dribbling, jumping, fast breaking champions raising awareness about public education, transformative justice, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Every cent you donate toward our $25,000 goal will directly fund educator and student organizing projects designed by our teams to build positive communities and transform school culture.
Teachers Unite members are public school educators working to promote positive school culture that embodies Transformative Justice through its practice (circles, alternatives to suspensions, anti-racist pedagogy, etc.) and its principles including: collective action, community accountability, resistance to unjust institutions, respect for all voices, and transformation through struggle.
We want police, arrests and metal detectors out of schools, because we want schools that foster education and loving inclusivity, not punishment and fear.
Teachers Unite is the only membership organization of New York City public school educators who are resisting their roles in what is known as the School to Prison Pipeline. The School to Prison Pipeline includes the overuse of suspensions, zero tolerance policies that involve the police in minor incidents, and referrals to juvenile detention and other practices that disproportionately push students of color, students with special needs and LGBTQ students from the school system and into the criminal justice system. Teachers Unite members organize across the city to build school partnerships, develop educator and student leaders, and grow Restorative Justice practices. Through participation in city-wide and national coalitions, TU members stand with students, parents, and advocates calling for an end to racist disciplinary practices.
Last year we raised over $20,000 which went directly to support NYC student- and educator-led projects that made their schools safer for, and respectful of, all students: from the establishment of a peer mediation program in a Brooklyn school to a student-designed course on Transformative Justice in the Bronx.
“With Teachers Unite’s support I created an elective about Restorative Justice. A student in the elective was constantly facing suspensions. He became a leader in our classroom, passed all his classes and helped facilitate community-building activities with peers and teachers. With a huge smile, report card in hand, he asked if he could take my elective again.” -Kate R., Special Education Teacher, Brooklyn Frontiers H.S.
This year a Restorative Justice team of educators and students at Brooklyn Frontiers H.S. is planning to train 20 educators in their school in how to use restorative circles to conduct student meetings.
- $30 buys a week worth of snacks for graduating peer mediators and their mentees during after-school trainings.
- $55 will provide MetroCards to 10 students from the Bronx to a citywide meet-up of young people leading Restorative Justice practices in schools.
- $200 supports a student from a Teachers Unite school team to attend a three-day advanced Transformative Justice training
- $1,000 supports students to publish a toolkit on Teachers Unite’s website that helps others to replicate their organizing project.
Through our advocacy, organizing, training, coaching, and development of resources, our work has led to hundreds of students and educators being trained in and/or leading and developing Restorative and Transformative Justice practices and programs in over one hundred New York City non-charter public schools that serve over 90% students who are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch. There is no way to capture the untold numbers of suspensions, school-removals, and arrests that have been prevented by the community building, awareness, and de-escalation skills learned in these school communities.
As a leader, and the only educator organization, in the Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY), we are proud that our coalition achieved the allocation of $2.4 million by the New York City Council for a Restorative Justice Initiative to support school-wide implementation of Restorative Justice (RJ) practices in 25 New York City schools in 2015. We serve as the chair of the Pilot School Working Group of DSC-NY and shaped the basis for this win through our support and documentation of successful RJ implementation in schools. Through the City Council initiative, 15 schools in low-income communities with high suspensions rates have been supported to hire full-time Restorative Justice Coordinators and receive training for all school staff in restorative practices. In addition, five schools with some experience in RJ received additional training to expand their practices, and five schools received funding to serve as mentors to the other schools in the initiative.