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Virginia Organizing to Hold Media Conference to Call on Portsmouth School Board to Reduce Suspensions

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2016

What: Media conference with Portsmouth parents and community leaders to call on the Portsmouth School Board to take action to reduce suspensions

When: Thursday, October 20 at 6 p.m.

Where: Churchland High School, Cedar Lane entrance (4301 Cedar Lane, Portsmouth, VA 23703)

Speakers:

Parents of students with suspensions and expulsions

Sergio Neal, Virginia Organizing Portsmouth Chapter leader

Representative of Portsmouth Chapter NAACP


Portsmouth, Va.— Virginia Organizing will hold a media conference to call on the Portsmouth School Board to release suspension data and take action to reduce suspensions and find alternatives to suspensions and expulsions in Portsmouth schools. The media conference will be held prior to the school board meeting at Churchland High School (4301 Cedar Lane, Portsmouth, VA 23703) at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 20.

Natasha Cunningham’s son, a student at Woodrow Wilson High School, has personal experience with unjust suspensions as a result of the zero tolerance policy in Portsmouth.

“My son and three other students, ages 15-17, were expelled for a fight,” said Cunningham. “Now, these four boys, two of whom are 15 years old, will have trouble graduating from high school. We want the School Board and the Superintendent to end zero tolerance policies and keep our kids in school, so that other parents and families do not have to go through what we are going through now.

“I have been working on keeping kids in school for a while now because I recognize the importance of the role of education for our youth to succeed and overcome the cycle of poverty,” said Virginia Organizing Portsmouth Chapter leader Sergio Neal. “Virginia Organizing asks that the school board end zero tolerance policies, give monthly reports on suspension activity, and actively work to find alternatives for suspensions so we can end this epidemic of removing kids from the learning environment.”

For more information, or to interview a spokesperson, please contact Amanda Pohl at 804-337-1912 or amanda@virginia-organizing.org.

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