New Bedford -- A community forum to discuss systemic racism, police in schools, and reimagining school safety, will be held via Zoom at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday.
The forum is organized by the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools (NBCSOS). NBCSOS is a vibrant, diverse, grassroots community-based organization of over 150 members. NBCSOS is primarily made up of New Bedford families, students, and educators who are committed to protecting public education and strengthening our schools and community. The mission is to create caring schools that work to support the physical, social, and emotional development of all students so that they become creative, compassionate participants who are capable and willing to transform society in the direction of equity.
NBCSOS supports the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) and is hosting the forum to educate the public on education justice issues, particularly the criminalization and dehumanization of Black youth in schools. While support for BLM is increasing in America and locally, too many are unfamiliar with the demands of the movement and actions needed to make change and move society in a direction of equity. Through discussions with the community, it is clear that too many White allies of the movement do not understand the issue of police in schools. This forum is for supporters of the movement who want to learn more about the demand to remove police from schools and reallocate funds to restorative services. This forum will address questions regarding school safety, the role of police in the community, and how communities set budgets to reflect their priorities.
The forum will be a conversation between these leading experts and scholar-activists. Dr. Erica R. Meiners is professor of education and women's and gender studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She is the author of several books including Right to Be Hostile: Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies and coauthor of Flaunt It! Queers Organizing for Public Education and Justice; Dr. David Stovall is professor of African-American studies and criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of several books including Born Out of Struggle, Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption and the editor of From Education to Incarceration: Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline; and Dr. Aaron Kupchik is professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. His research focuses on juvenile justice with interests in punishment and policing of youth in schools, courts, and correctional facilities, as well as inequality among juveniles. He is the author of Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear and The Real School Safety Problem: The Long Term Consequences of Harsh School Punishment.
NBCSOS has been active in the fight for equity and justice in New Bedford for several years. In addition to successfully resisting privatization of our schools, NBCSOS has been instrumental in numerous wins for the New Bedford Public Schools. The Coalition’s work has included: securing additional funding, overhauling the food-service department, and increasing community voice in decisions that affect the community. To support BLM, NBCSOS is also continuing community action dialogues in our schools, facilitating book clubs around social justice and education justice issues, and actively working to ensure that our schools adopt curriculum that is anti-racist and culturally responsive while recruiting/retaining educators of color.
The REIMAGINING SCHOOL SAFETY event is Thursday, June 25 at 4 p.m. EDT. It is free and open to the public. Register for the event here.