What: School Board Meeting Rally
When: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 6 – 9 p.m.
Where: Norfolk Public Schools Administration Building, 800 City Hall Ave., Norfolk, VA 23510
Norfolk, Va.— Virginia Organizing members, parents, workers, and community allies will convene at the Norfolk School Board building this Wednesday at 6 p.m. to picket the School Board meeting, calling on the board to reduce suspensions and fix the special education program.
In the 2017-2018 school year, 4,173 students received short term suspensions. That is 14 percent of the total student body. Students of color were 3.5 times more likely than white students to receive suspensions, and students with disabilities received twice as many as students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are supposed to be protected under federal law from suspension for behavior that results from their disability.
Virginia Organizing and community partners have worked for three years to address this problem with the Norfolk School Board. In 2016, they held a series of forums on the school-to-prison pipeline. In 2016 and 2017, they met with school board members and the superintendent. At this meeting they will ask the school board why they have not resolved this issue and start a formal campaign to pressure Norfolk Public Schools to finally reduce these suspensions.
“My daughter has autism and has also been labeled as gifted. As a Norfolk public school student, she was given out of school suspensions, removed from the district, and was contracted at age 12 to a private school which can accept juvenile offenders, emotionally disturbed children, and sex offenders. I am extremely concerned that the Norfolk schools graduate special education students at half the national rate, and consistently miss the majority of the annual state special education targets,” says Carter Melin.
Christy Allston, another parent, said her daughter was mistreated many times in the school system.
“My daughter is in high school and coaches the middle school basketball team. She was put in handcuffs after school last year for being on middle school property after their team’s practice. She has also been suspended in high school for talking back to a teacher,” Allston said.
To interview a spokesperson for this event, please contact Meghan McNamara at 847-922-1213 or Meghan@virginia-organizing.org