NC HEAT & YOI Join Federal Complaint Over Policing in Wake County Schools

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As part of our ongoing work to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline, NC HEAT and YOI joined with a number of other youth and civil rights organizations yesterday to file a federal complaint over policing in the Wake County Public Schools. In the complaint, we highlight a disturbing pattern of civil rights violations in Wake County schools that disproportionately affects students of color and students with disabilities.

The complaint we filed and the press conference that followed has received media attention from many local and national outlets. Read more at:

Read our press release here.
View video coverage here.
For a complete list of press links, click here.

We’re Headed South!

poweruOur youth are gearing up for an exciting trip south to Miami over MLK weekend to meet with youth and elders from two other amazing organizations – Dream Defenders and Power U.

These organizations are doing great work with immigrant youth and youth of color and against the school-to-prison-pipeline. We’re hoping this trip will enhance our campaign for a Moratorium on Out-Of-School-Suspensions and help us learn best practices for inter-generational organizing.

Check back soon for updates from the road!

Donate on Indiegogo! Support our trip to Atlanta & Miami!

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Donate Today!

To enhance our campaign for a Moratorium on Out-Of-School-Suspensions and learn best practices for inter-generational organizing, the Youth Organizing Institute is taking members of NC HEAT (NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens) & EJA (Education Justice Alliance) to Atlanta to meet with JustUSATL, and Project South then heading to Miami to meet with Power U!

This trip will bring high school youth and elders together to:

  • Meet with leaders and members of Project South and Power U to understand their inter-generational organizing models.
  • Explore challenges of organizing in the south specifically around race and religion and develop new outreach strategies.
  • Discuss current campaign for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions and the challenges associated with educating teachers, peers, and administrators about restorative justice (particularly within the context of a region with low union density and right-to-work laws).
  • Build network of inter-generational organizations building power to fight the school-to-prison-pipeline and working for racial justice, immigrant, and LGBTQ justice in the South.

Funds raised will be used for:

  • Purchasing the van
  • Travel expenses (gas, housing, food)

We have already received a grant for $6,500 of our $10,000 budget for the van and our trip. Please help us get across the finish line!

Donate Today!

Recap on the Week of Action Against School Pushout!

pushbackiconFrom September 28 to October 7, the Youth Organizing Institute, NC HEAT and the Education Justice Alliance held a Week of Action against school pushout, participating in NC Pride, holding a Press Conference outside of the Wake County School Board office, holding a march in downtown Raleigh against the school-to-prison pipeline, and phone banking to remind people to vote in the school board election.  Here’s a recap of each event:

Saturday, September 28: NC Pride

Youth from NC HEAT, iNSIDEoUT and various high schools throughout the triangle march together in the NC Pride parade.

Youth from NC HEAT, iNSIDEoUT and various high schools throughout the triangle march together in the NC Pride parade.

NC HEAT and allies preparing for pride and the march against school push out!

NC HEAT and allies preparing for pride and the march against school push out!

Alongside iNSIDEoUT and around 50 other teens, NC HEAT marched in the NC Pride parade in Durham to raise awareness for the criminalization of queer youth and youth of color.  It was a fun celebration and a festive way to kick off the week!

Tuesday, October 1: Press Conference to Launch Campaign for a Pause in Suspensions

Members of NC HEAT, YOI and EJA speak out against suspensions in Wake County.

Members of NC HEAT, YOI and EJA speak out against suspensions in Wake County.

News 14 Carolina – “Wake Co. group wants school district to ease suspension policy”

YOI, NC HEAT and the Education Justice Alliance came together to hold a press conference in front of the Wake County Public School System central office in Cary to announce our shared campaign calling for a pause on suspensions in Wake County.  We spoke in front of the WCPSS building as well as during public comment after the school board meeting.  Click here for a video of NC HEAT members speaking during public comment (0:21:00).

Friday, October 4: 2nd Annual March to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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News & Observer WakeEd blog- “Groups to march to Central Prison to protest Wake County school discipline policies”

News & Observer – “Raleigh groups march to reduce youth imprisonment”

NC HEAT, YOI, EJA and other allies including [??], Internationalist Prison Books Collective and UNControllables marched together to speak out against school push out–policies that lead to students of color, queer youth, students with disabilities and low-income students being suspended, expelled or dropping out at a higher rate than their peers.  The march began with a speak-out at Washington GT Elementary in Raleigh and processed to NC Central Prison, choosing the route to represent the school-to-prison pipeline.  Along the way, marchers stopped outside of Shaw University at the memorial plaque for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to honor radical history and to remember those we love who fight for justice every day.  We then held a noise demonstration outside of  Central Prison with drums and our voices, letting prisoners know that they are not forgotten and not alone.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the week’s events!  We wrapped up on Monday by making phone calls to remind voters about the school board candidates.  Here is an N&O article about the school board election results.

Stay tuned as we announce our upcoming plans for the end of the year!

Big Plans for the National Week of Action!

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On September 21, members of YOI, NCHEAT and the Education Justice Alliance met to discuss our plans for the upcoming year.  In particular, we planned out the upcoming Week of Action, part of Dignity in School’s National Week of Action Against School Pushout. The Week of Action will take place from September 28 through October 5.  NCHEAT will start out the week by marching at NC Pride in Durham on September 28.  On October 1, there will be a press conference to announce YOI, NCHEAT and EJA’s campaign for a moratorium on out-of-state suspensions, taking place  immediately before a Wake County School Board meeting at which students and parents will speak out against the crisis of suspensions in Wake County.  On October 4, NCHEAT will lead Push Back Against Push Out, a youth-led march against school pushout and the prison-industrial-complex. YOI and NCHEAT members planned out costumes, speeches and chants in preparation.

Get excited!  More info on the Week of Action will be announced soon.

NC HEAT wants YOU to emerge as a HERO!

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On Tuesday, September 2, NC HEAT (North Carolina Heroes Emerging Among Teens) invites passionate, powerful high school youth in the Triangle Area to attend their back-to-school orientation meeting. NC HEAT is a united multicultural group of youth from different aspects of life seeking a common purpose. We organize and advocate for civil rights and justice in our community for ourselves and for future generations. On Tuesday, we will discuss the history and legacy of NC HEAT, the work we have done in the past to improve our schools and communities, the work that we can do together in the future, and the current political landscape in the area as it pertains to education and the lives of youth.
The meeting will be held at DH Hill Library on NC State University’s campus fro 5pm to 6:30pm, we’ll have snacks and transportation can be provided if needed.  Contact ladylettuce95[at]gmail[dot]com if you need a ride.
Come out and join a community of passionate and engaged students! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!

Nationwide Fight Against School Push Out

no peace with a peaceThe School-to-Prison Pipeline is a national issue and requires creating a national fightback. The Dignity in Schools Campaign is helping local organizations coordinate and develop their campaigns to end this pipeline.  Here are some of the recent victories, including in Wake County, NC.

DSC Members Win Community Involvement in School Resource Officer Training for Wake County Schools

North Carolina – On June 4, students with DSC member organizations NC HEAT/Youth Organizing Institute and the Education Justice Alliance, together with the Coalition of Concerned Parents of African American Children, attended the Wake County Public School System Board meeting to address the overuse of harsh discipline practices and arrests at the hands of School Resource Officers (SROs).

Click the link below to read the full story:

http://www.dignityinschools.org/blog/dsc-members-win-community-involvement-school-resource-officer-training-wake-county-schools

DSC Members Celebrate Victory in Los Angeles

On Tuesday, May 14, DSC members CADRE, Public Counsel Law Center, Labor/Community Strategy Center, and Children’s Defense Fund-California working with the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition of Los Angeles on the Every Student Matters Campaign celebrated a groundbreaking victory when the Los Angeles Unified School Board approved a School Climate Bill of Rights that: bans suspensions for willful defiance; calls for stepped up implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support and for the first time Restorative Justice; makes discipline, citation, and school arrest data available to students and parents; and clarifies the role of police in schools.

Click the link below for the full story:

http://www.dignityinschools.org/blog/dsc-members-celebrate-victory-los-angeles

D.O.E. Holds Annual Discipline Code Public Hearing

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A chant of “Solutions not suspensions” echoed through the Stuyvesant High School auditorium Thursday evening, where a crowd largely made up of youth leaders assembled for the Department of Education’s annual hearing on the Discipline Code.

Click the link below for the full story:

http://www.dignityinschools.org/blog/doe-holds-annual-discipline-code-public-hearing

Youth lead march to Governor

witnessWedTwo days after the June 24 “Moral Monday,” youth in NC called for an action to raise their issues. The action was called “Witness Wednesday.”  NC HEAT leaders Q and Beatrice addressed the crowd at a press conference before a march to the Governor’s office. They demanded an end to the criminalization of youth and for fully funded quality education.

They spoke about legislation aimed at lowering the age to 13 when youth could be tried as adults, and spoke against privatization and the school voucher bill. The racist criminal injustice system that disproportionately incarcerates youth of color must be stopped. While the mobilizations on the state-wide level are continuing, NC HEAT is building a coalition around challenging police in schools and ending racist discipline practices.

Youth Mobilize for “Moral Monday”

ImageSince April 29, members of NC HEAT have come out for weekly “Moral Mondays.”  On June 24 thousands of people from across the state gathered.  Over 120 people participating in non-violent civil disobedience.  The reactionary policies being proposed include massive cuts to education, a school voucher plan, refusing the Federal Medicaid Expansion, and cutting unemployment benefits. NC HEAT will continue to raise youth demands, tell their stories, and be in solidarity every Moral Monday.