Bill to End the School-To-Prison Pipeline Passes IL General Assembly! Awaits Governor's Signature!
Following a two-year campaign led by VOYCE students and supported by allies in the Campaign for Common Sense Discipline, youth leaders successfully advanced one of the most comprehensive efforts ever made by a state to address the "school-to-prison pipeline". Senate Bill 100 (SB 100) requires all publicly funded schools to only use suspensions and expulsions as a "last resort" when encountering student discipline issues, and encourages educators to use alternative approaches such as restorative justice. SB 100 passed the Illinois General Assembly with Republican and Democratic support, and was sent on its way to the Governor's desk.
Illinois has one of the widest disparities between suspended black and white students in the country, according to the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. Overall, Illinois students lose over one million instructional days per year as a result of suspensions and expulsions.
"Throughout the country, educators and policymakers are coming to the realization that harsh discipline policies are undermining their efforts to promote student achievement," said national school discipline and educational equity expert Pedro Noguera, a professor at New York University. "Illinois SB 100 represents a big step forward in that it will allow schools to devise more creative approaches to student discipline while still maintaining safe learning environments."
Dalia Mena, an 18-year-old member of VOYCE and CPS senior was one of over 100 students who traveled to Springfield regularly over two years to educate their legislators on how disciplinary practices were impacting them. "For too long, harsh school discipline practices have contributed to the under-education and over-criminalization of young people, and especially youth of color," she said. "SB 100 makes Illinois go from one of the worst states when it comes to overusing exclusionary discipline, to being a national leader with a model for other states to follow."
Allies in the Campaign for Common Sense Discipline:
Attorney Jim Freeman * Illinois Safe Schools Alliance * Community Organizing on Family Issues * United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations * Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law * Advancement Project * Chicago Teachers Union * Gamaliel (Springfield) * Blocks Together * Project NIA * ONE Northside * ACLU of Illinois * Alternatives, Inc. * Blocks Together * Chicago Freedom School * Community Renewal Society * Disciples for Christ Evangelistic Ministries * Enlace Chicago * Inner City Muslim Action Network * Adler Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice * Korean Resource and Cultural Center *TARGET Area Development Corporation