Join PACCT at the Theatre!They have purchased 8 pairs of tickets to Face Off Theatre Company‘s production of PIPELINE on Saturday night (July 17th) at 7:30 pm to share with our friends and followers! Here’s how you can enter to win a pair: FIRST, “Follow” PACCT Board here on Facebook. Once you’ve done that, leave a comment here on this post with your answer to this question: How many times (approximately) this month have you heard or seen the phrase “School to Prison Pipeline”? Drawing closes at 5 pm Thursday, July 15. WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED AT RANDOM and announced here at 7 and notified via messenger to arrange to have tickets delivered.
Kalamazoo, MI – First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, MI is the current host site for ProKazoo’s monthly meetings. Local grassroots organizers and community advocates presented their work with the goals of connecting allies with marginalized communities in Kalamazoo County. Local community leaders, Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Gettings, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, Julie Rogers and Sherine Miller, Kalamazoo Charter Township Treasurer, were among those present to hear from local activists and organizers. Gwendolyn Hooker, Co-Founder of JABS (Justice Against Bullying in Schools) shared that Michigan ranks number one in the nation for bullying in school. Not isolated to Kalamazoo, bullying is a huge problem for youth, especially ages, 6 to 12 years old. October is national bullying month and JABS will have announcements of their next events coming up. Dr. Strick Strickland, Interim President of the Metropolitan Branch of the NAACP, explained his involvement with the Citizen Public Safety Review and Appeal Board. The members are appointed by Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema and serve two-year terms. The goal of the CPSRAB is to review complaints citizens have filed against the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and are unsatisfied with the result. If a citizen wishes to appeal this decision, it is reviewed by Ristema with input from the review board. Lead organizer for SEE Change, Elisheva T. Johnson spoke in detail and passion, the construct of the “School to Prison Pipeline”. Racism, a social construct that is invisible, targets African-Americans and youth of color, especially males. Recent data show that K-12 students are 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students. Johnson also shared that there is a lack of transparency between the school and parents and many of youth are “medicated and separated”.
Kelli Redman, the Restorative Justice Program Manager from Gryphon Place, shared out with the group, a presentation outlining the services that some KPS buildings have access too. Outreach to all KPS buildings is a discussion that is in the works. Amanda Miller, current KEA President shared insight on whats called a “bargaining crisis”. Negotiations stalled for KPS teachers and KPS Board on step raises and transparency. KPS teachers are asking for smaller class sizes and a proposed letter of agreement. Miller also urged members of the community to run for school board as two seats will be available December 2018. Ed Genesis, Rapper and community organizer shared first hand his experience going through the “school to prison pipeline” and his transformation and success story. The meeting concluded with a Know Your Rights Panel, consisting of SEE Change advocates answered questions from the audience. SEE Change is planning to Know Your Rights Workshop for parents, caregivers, and students, who wish to have additional support navigating through the educational system.
Kalamazoo, MI- Prior to the start of the regularly scheduled Kalamazoo School Board, dozens of teachers, parents and community members were seen holding signs protesting outside the administration building. Standing room only, recognizing area students for their athletic achievements. The meeting’s priority for many in attendance, t step raises for teachers after one year of service. KEA, President, Amanda Miller states, “the other way teachers receive compensation increases are when we bargain an increase on the step schedule. The money budgeted doesn’t even get us to the step that teachers earn for last year’s service”.
A very emotionally charged meeting, parents and former KPS students shared their experiences of support from a KPS teacher that “took that extra time” or provide resources to them that they were not able to get on their own at the time. Teachers current and retired shared emotionally charged stories as well. Students that were able to move past a barrier or challenge in their lives and contributing part success to the dedication of KPS teachers.
George White, Lead parent advocate for SEE Change a local group from Kalamazoo, states, “It appears there was an agreement in principle to a 2.2 percent step increase for teachers this coming school semester. Recruiting and retaining quality teachers depends on stability/dependability of employment and step increases after their first year to assure that teachers feel valued and are able to support their families”.
White has met with many KPS parents and working with them to “navigate” through the “chain of commands”. In addition, White adds, “80 new teachers last year aided by a very high turnover ratio in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Kalamazoo Public Schools enrollment is thriving/growing over the last 10 years and students received an increase in per pupil funding this school year. It is no secret the school board has never met with teachers and this action serves to even deepen the rift. Our pupils deserve a school board that visits the schools and talks to the students/teachers and places the value where it belongs”.
The next KPS school board is scheduled for August 31, 2017, at 7 pm. The administration building is located 1220 Howard Street.
Kalamazoo, MI- S.E.E Change (Social Economic and Educational Change) a group of parent advocates
affiliated with Michigan United and JABS (Justice Against Bullying @ School) attended Thursdays school board
meeting to express concerns about student bullying and physical restraint of students (By staff) that have lead to cuts, bruises, muscle strains, and a concussion in the case of one student. S.E.E Change parents also expressed concerns with segregation (alternative schools) of minority students and medicating of students with disabilities.
Earl Moore spoke of an SWIS report initiated by the schools that characterized his son’s behavior in criminal terms and the report follows his son wherever he goes. Earl also spoke of his son being bullied, which lead to a change in his son’s behavior, and the behavior change leads to physical restraint (by staff) of his son on numerous occasions and his son being suspended from school in excess of 30 days. Earl also commented that “The school refused to allow my son to come back to school unless he took medication”.
Gwendolyn Hooker spoke of the brutal multiple assaults upon her granddaughter (Justyce) at the hands of two attackers. She also spoke of the seeming lack of concern from the district in addressing the issue of the assault of Justyce and other bullied students in the district.
Tammie Woods spoke of her son’s battles with depression and anxiety after multiple restraints resulted in a concussion, cuts, and his arm being twisted., Tammie also spoke of the numerous services she pursued at SLD Read/WMU to help him with his reading, services that the school should have provided but she could not get any assistance and now SLD read Director has said her child does not qualify for SLD Read services.
George White lead advocate spoke about bullying and the effects of bullying that can lead to depression, withdrawal, low self-esteem, poor grades, poor peer relationships, increases the drop out ratio and in rare cases can lead to death. Mr. White also commented on the need for Restorative Justice models that are gaining traction all around the country in addressing student bullying, Trauma Informed Care practices in classrooms and the need for improving student, parent, teacher relationships.
S.E.E Change is committed to returning to every upcoming school board meeting with more and more parents/parent advocate groups until there is the change that the parents seek. S.E.E Change will lead the discussion in the community about policy reform needed to reduce bullying, expulsions, suspensions, restraint and medication dependence. The goal is to return all of our children to mainstream classrooms. It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
Kalamazoo Promise 10 Year Update, 2006-2016