Who are we?
The Every Student Counts Alliance is a group of advocates, parents, and community leaders seeking to reform school discipline in Spokane. We share information and ideas, collaborate to identify solutions, and work collectively to elevate our voice. Members include Team Child, the Spokane NAACP, the ACLU of Washington, The Arc of Spokane, the Northwest Justice Project, The Northwest Autism Center, the Spokane Regional Health District and Passages Family Support.
Why focus on student discipline?
In the 2014-2015 school year, Spokane Public Schools had one of the highest rates of out of school suspension and expulsion in the state.
The majority of students suspended (65%) were removed from school for low level disruptive conduct, failure to cooperate, or other behavior that did not involve drugs or
The impact falls disproportionately on students of color and students with disabilities, who are as much as 3 times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their peers.
Suspension is a strong predictor of failure to graduate and involvement in the juvenile justice system.
What's the solution?
The Every Student Counts Alliance seeks to reform school discipline practices by:
• promoting positive and restorative practices to address student behavior and keep students in school;
• encouraging resources and professional development for teachers, administrators, and school staff to ensure safe and supportive classrooms;
• eliminating disparities in discipline of students of color and students with disabilities;
• preventing criminalization of student misbehavior in school;
• facilitating intercultural communication, cultural competency, and understanding of implicit bias; and
• ensuring parent and community involvement in shaping school district policy.
How have we made progress?
Due to advocacy by the Every Student Counts Alliance, Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger signed a resolution recognizing the overuse of suspension and expulsion in Spokane Public Schools and committing the district to a 2 year reform initiative. Members of the Every Student Counts Alliance are currently participating in committees developing a plan for reform in the following areas:
• Professional development and training
• Data collection
• Parent engagement
• Racial and Disability Equity, and
• Campus Police officers.
Our goal is to develop a comprehensive plan for implementing and supporting lasting change to existing police and procedures.
How can I get involved?
Parents, students, and other community advocates can get involved by:
• Join our Facebook Group for updates and information. Search for “Every Student Counts.”
• Check out or website at https://www.aclu-wa.org/student-discipline
• Participate in strategy sessions and information sharing. For more information, contact Vanessa Hernandez, Youth Policy Director for the ACLU of Washington, at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Share your story! For more information, email email@example.com