On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, POWER-PAC testified at the Chicago Board of Education Meeting, supporting the passage of a revised Student Code of Conduct which will drastically reduce the number of days of suspensions CPS students experience. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “the new code would limit the opportunities for a principal to suspend; encourage more in-school suspensions; reduce the maximum number of suspension days, and emphasize corrective approaches, such as peace circles or social skills instruction, as the first response to misdeeds.” POWER-PAC Co-Chair Felipa Mena, was featured on Chicago’s lead Spanish-language news, applauding CPS for passing the code with these revisions.
Since 2005, POWER-PAC has been organizing to stop out-of-school-suspensions. This year, POWER-PAC ramped-up their campaign, building alliances with youth organizing groups, teachers (including the Chicago Teacher’s Union), juvenile justice advocates, and churches. They brought the new administration up to speed on the progress they had made and what still needed to be done. They sat down with top CPS officials to hammer out the code changes and then hosted them at the Wells Peace Center to show them restorative justice in action. Also, they met with a CPS Board Member who ultimately voted to pass the new code and one Board member even expressed reservations that the revised Code didn’t go far enough to reduce school suspensions.
In the end, POWER-PAC’s hard work and dedication to this issue paid off and will save students thousands of days in out-of-school suspensions.
Way to go POWER-PAC!