Racial Justice

Print this page.
racial justice web page meme

Resources

Description Learn more 👇🏼

WE CAN AND WE MUST RE-IMAGINE SCHOOL SAFETY

The historic movement for Black Lives and racial justice has sharpened the focus on issues of policing, and many districts across the country have eliminated school police. In June, the UTLA Board and House voted overwhelmingly to call for the elimination of the LA school police budget, and to instead invest in student support services, mental/social/emotional health staffing, and Community Schools.

Reimagine School Safety Flyer

Why is UTLA talking about eliminating the school police and shifting funding to student needs?

Students in LA have been organizing against over-policing for years. UTLA has been a part of this, working in coalition to end truancy ticketing, to stop the LA School Police Department from attaining federal weapons like tanks, and to stop discriminatory searches.

FAQ: Shifting police funding to student needs

The fight for Black lives

These issues call for a deep, sustained dialogue but we hope this FAQ can help continue the conversations we are having with each other and our students, parents, and community.

Black Lives Matter at Schools has created excellent teaching materials, lesson plans, reading lists for all grades

California Teachers Association:

As a union of 310,000 educators across California, we have an obligation to act. This is not a time for us to look away. We must grapple with the fact that our schools, our practices, policies and even our own union, are shaped by inequities, bias and institutional racism.

Our Black students and educators experience schools, the police and this pandemic very differently than our White students and educators. Saying #BlackLivesMatter isn't enough: we need to actively show it in our work toward anti-racism on a personal, structural and institutional level.

We are grieving and we are outraged. Together, we must continue the call for justice and to hold powerful people, organizations and each other, accountable. What are you doing to work toward anti-racism every day? #JusticeforGeogeFloyd #JusticeforAhmaudArbery #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeForTonyMcDade

 

 

Sign up to take action to End White Silence 👇🏼

This a read aloud of Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, & Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin by Ms. Jung, a teacher at Bridges Academy.

 

Are You Teaching for Black Lives?

 

Teaching for Black Lives is one way that teachers, parents, and educators of all kinds can fight back. It can help young people see themselves as anti-racist agents of change in our communities, but as Valerie Strauss wrote in the Washington Post, "the truth is that the book can educate anybody who picks it up and reads it."                                                                   

When Teaching for Black Lives was first published, one of the book's editors, Dyan Watson, set the stakes:
 

"I have two Black sons. For me, this collection is about their survival, and the survival of children like them throughout the United States. Teaching for Black Lives is a handbook for all educators, students, and families who truly care about Blackness and the intersections of learning, teaching, and race."

In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery — and as communities across the United States erupt in rebellion against police violence, systemic racism, dehumanization, and injustice, we know that it is now more important than ever that our classrooms and homes be spaces for resistance against white supremacy.

Teaching for Black Lives is one way that teachers, parents, and educators of all kinds can fight back. It can help young people see themselves as anti-racist agents of change in our communities, but as Valerie Strauss wrote in the Washington Post, "the truth is that the book can educate anybody who picks it up and reads it."

Teaching for Black Lives - *Valid through June 11, 2020. Plus shipping and handling.
Take 40% off with discount code: T4BL40*

We're offering the book at a special discount in hopes that it can reach as many people as possible. Our support, love, and energy is with all of those who are in the streets and working with students — resisting white supremacy and struggling for justice. Click here to learn more. 

 

Teachers Must Hold Themselves Accountable for Dismantling Racial Oppression

Click here for full story.

This week began with a hike in the woods for my family and me in the Shenandoah Valley State Park. Pre COVID-19, our outings consisted of laser tag, movies every weekend, and going out to eat, but now, we are just happy being outside. As we parked our car, the first thing I noticed was the huge Confederate flag hanging from the window of the adjacent house. It was not lost on me that I was only 30 minutes away from Charlottesville, and it was not bears that I feared in those woods that day...

 

Additional Resources
Description Learn more 👇🏼

For White Allies in Search of a Solution to American Racism / When Folks of Color Are Exhausted

"Being an ally doesn’t mean saying, 'Yes, I support you,' and asking, 'What can I do?' Rather, it means rolling up your sleeves and showing me what you can do and are already doing." 

40+ Books for AntiRacist Teachers – White Fragiles Beware! (summer 2020 update)
Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource roundup

PBS Point of View Films: 

SHORT FILM | 01/06/2020 | 20 MINS – Stay Close blends home videos and animation in an expressionistic montage to tell the underdog story of Keeth Smart, an African American fencer from Brooklyn who overcomes a gauntlet of hardships on his road to the Olympics. 

 

 

Articles and lessons - Choose what works for you!
Description Learn more 👇🏼

Teach and Learn With The Times: Resources for Bringing the World Into Your Classroom. 

This document is intended to serve as a resource to White people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Let’s Raise a Generation of Children Who Are Thoughtful, Informed, and Brave About Race
Picture books about activism, protest, and standing up for others. 
100 picture books including Black people and communities & why you need them. 
Children’s books about White privilege. 
Anti-Racism Resources for all ages - A Project by the Augusta Baker Chair | Dr. Nicole A. Cooke | The University of South Carolina. 
Teachingtolerance.org - Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma. 

 


...

 

 

Random Searches MOU

A big win for our students

JANUARY 2019

In our historic bargaining agreement with LAUSD in January 2019, our bargaining team was able to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding with LAUSD on their BUL 5424.2 policy and enforcement of "random searches" at school sites.

As part of the new pilot program based on our historic 2019 agreement, 14 schools will be selected and granted exemptive status from "administrative searches" for the 2019-20 & 2020-21 school years.

Interested schools can apply for both years and must go through the application process with the Local School Leadership Council or their Local District review by March 15 of each year before final approval is given by the District.

UTLA has been deeply involved in pushing back on the inequitable enforcement of this policy, BUL 5424.2 by administrators since its inception in 2014. READ MORE ABOUT THE MOU>>

 

What do 'random' searches look like?

School staff must interrupt classroom instruction and select students based on a “pre-established random plan.” The selected students are ordered to leave the classroom with their belongings, losing valuable instruction time. In a separate location staff members search students and their belongings with a metal detector. If any item violating school rules is found (even if it is not a weapon) the student is disciplined.

...

Making Black Lives Matter in Schools

Blacl Lives Matter button against LAUSD random searches. Sketches of two young ethnic kids rising arms with black sketches of groups of people in back in clusters with picket signs and mega phones.
The student-designed button for the BLM Feb. 24 event.

LOS ANGELES — On Saturday, February 24, 2018, over 600 students, parents, educators, and community members came together at LA Trade Tech for a youth-led forum. The two main purposes were to discuss alternatives to the LAUSD policy of random searches, and to build pressure on LAUSD to fund a Community Schools model, including an expansion of school psychologists, nurses, counselors, psychiatric social workers, and other social-emotional support personnel.  The student leaders of the forum placed themselves within the current national youth movement on school health and safety.
 
Students from across the city spoke to their experiences, and to academic research, which point to reasons for the LAUSD policy on random searches — only used by 4% of districts across the country —  to end:
 

  • The searches are ineffective and counter-productive.  Very few weapons are found.  School tensions and potential for disruption of school safety are increased, not decreased.
     
  • Students lose learning time because the searches occur during class.
     
  • Trusting relationships between students and educators are undermined, as the searches must be conducted by school staff.  When these relationships are undermined, the most effective way to find out about potential disruptions to school safety on campuses — students talking to educators — is undermined.
     
  • At many schools, the searches are not random.  They over-target Black and Muslim students, escalating tension, not decreasing it. Magnet school students and students in AP classes are not searched as often.  

The students framed their call for school health and safety through Community Schools and more staffing within a demand for more funding for schools – California is 46th out of 50 among the states in per-pupil funding, spends only $11,000 per student but $75,000 per prisoner, and has approximately one counselor per 950 students even though the American School Counselor Association recommends one per 250 students.

In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Florida, a growing body of research supports the idea that increased staffing, rather than an increase in practices such as random searches, are the best approach to enhancing school safety.  

A few of the most relevant studies include:

 
The forum was co-sponsored by youth organizations such as Students Deserve, Black Lives Matter, ACLU, Public Counsel, and UTLA.

BlackmLives Matter supporting organizations' logos.

...

Standing with our students to end racism

End LAUSD Random Searches

Oct. 24, 2017 | #HERETOLEARN | #STUDENTSNOTSUSPECTS

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a policy #BUL-5424.2 (Oct. 26, 2015, revises #BUL-5424.1) that requires staff at all of its schools serving grades 6-12 to conduct daily metal detector searches of students and their belongings for weapons, even if the students have done nothing wrong or if there are no safety concerns at the school. 

View, print or download
Students Not Suspects Know Your Rights Flyer

School staff must stop classroom instruction when the searches are conducted, costing all students present valuable learning time. Students should be able to focus on their education.

 

Students Not Suspects Know Your Rights Flyer
Download
View, print or download

This policy contradicts existing LAUSD policies such as the School Climate Bill of Rights, and it is ineffective, intrusive and excessive. It allows for zero flexibility for educators and does not allow them to consider the unique needs of their students and campuses. The policy only serves to heighten tensions on campus and damage school morale.

Also, the district has oftentimes applied the policy in a discriminatory fashion, with the district searching students more frequently in schools that serve more low-income students and students of color and allowing its administrators to target particular students.

...

Above, educators, students and parents are united against police violence and institutional racism to raise awareness in the community during a rally on April 21, 2016 at Bethune MS.

 

RESOURCES

Flyers, Newsletters, Facts, School-to-Prison pipeline

Three stick people with hands in the air graphic

 

The Black Lives Matter Movement

We embrace our responsibility to provide a quality public education to all students. We know that our schools can be safe havens for our students. Most of our students are youth of color, and we know that unions have long been a part of movements challenging institutional racism. Read more in the newsletter below.

NEWSLETTER 1: The Importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement
Download
View, print or download
FAQs: Building the School to Prison Pipeline
Download
View, print or download
View, print or download
Black & White person with megaphone
2016 Black Lives Matter Forum

UTLA organized a first-of-its-kind forum at Dorsey HS in September 2016. Many students and educators feel school sites with a high African-American population are targeted more by police than other schools throughout the district.

A panel of high school students and leaders from Black Lives Matter discussed strategy on school policies and procedures, curriculum and instruction, building community schools and transforming the school system to support Black students. 

Above, organized by UTLA, students and supporters of Black Lives Matter gather at a groundbreaking forum at Dorsey HS in September 2016.