In December 2018, Rev. Dr. Fathimah Salleh, a mother with children in Durham Public Schools shared her heart when she released an open letter to Durham Public Schools about what she experienced in her son’s In-School Suspension (ISS). It brought light the following:
- A continued problem of the over-suspension of Black and Brown students.
- The school had not implemented the Restorative Justice Centers as required by the District.
- A problem with the system when it prevents or does not aid in allowing accessible academic success due to the lack of policy and practice related to the ISS process.
We supported this mom by showing up in record number to the January school board meeting, followed by a meeting with the Superintendent that resulted in an on-going collaboration of finding solutions to these problems. On Thursday, June 27th at the 6:30pm School Board meeting, presented an update on the collaborative work (the support, the challenges, and the next steps).
Check out this powerful video of updates, demands and “asks” from the Durham Committee of the Affairs of Black People’s Education Committee. Start video at 22 minutes. Black Parents Speak Out
Highlights of video: We go into 2019-2020 school year with expectations from the school district for Equity, Transpareny, Execution and Accountability. We want policy that speaks to data collection that includes all parties. We want policy for on-going professional development on implicit bias and anti-racist training as a means to regain trust of families to keep Black children safe and free from harm.
We go into 2019-2020 with expectation of transparency to determine why certain students are going into In-School Suspension (now RPC, or Restorative Practice Centers) at disproportionate rates. And, when they are in that space, we want accountability to ensure the students are receiving their school work.
We go into 2019-2020 with expectation to identify the pattern of referrals to ISS/RPC in an effort to offer further support for those teachers. We want transparency with the data of the teachers who are making the most referrals so that the training can be intentional, effective, and result driven.
Thank you for caring about Black children and their educational success. Thank you for having the tough conversations and pressing through to do the work together. Change is worth fighting for. Thank you for sharing this newsletter with your social connects as we work to organize and advocate for an anti-racist, equitable education for the students in Durham.