Monday June 13, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Ypsilanti Community Schools Administration Building
1885 Packard Rd.
Good Afternoon all,
My name is Chevaun Johnson. I am an 11th grade student at Ypsilanti Community High School (YCHS). I am a part of Student Advocacy Center’s (SAC) Youth Action of Michigan (YAM). I have been participating with YAM for three years. We are working to find alternatives to suspensions in our school.
This message is being sent out to recruit your involvement in the support of my fellow students of YCHS. This past year, we have seen many great things done within Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS) to improve the climate of the district. This past year, we have also seen many eyebrow raising instances that have contributed to the school-to-prison pipeline. Suspension policies without restoration have been overused at YCHS. The use of restorative practices by a trained restorative practitioner has not been used.
The Grizzly Support Center has been utilized in a way for students to be dismissed from class and not a restorative process be held for the student to return. We have also seen many fights that have happened on school buses, which have resulted in the consequent 10 day suspension. Everyone that is connected to this message is aware of the negative effect these suspensions have on a student’s progress educationally, as well as their own emotional motivation in completing their assigned work. The abandonment of restorative practices within YCHS has eliminated this resource for students to resolve their conflicts with peers, and have damaged the school climate.
Now, we are asking for your support of SAC’s YAM and other students that attend any of the YCHS schools in a rally to begin the talk of making these alternatives and implementations a reality. We are titling this event “Students Rights Matter.” This will be scheduled for Monday, June 13th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Our focus with this rally:
—For the representatives of students in our district to ask the administration to stop suspensions for infractions that do not threaten school safety.
—To use restorative practices instead and accurately document all school removals.
—For offenses that involve physical altercation, we ask that suspensions be 1-3 days based off of involvement.
—Also, that some form of monitoring be implemented for students and their assigned bus schedules.
—To engage students’ parents in coming up with positive ways to build community (like daily circles, youth-developed school rules.)
—To expand responses to “wrongdoing” beyond suspension (restorative, in-school suspension).
—Follow code of conduct limit level I & II violations to 5 days or less.
Now, we need the support of the Ypsilanti community to come together for this cause. Other students are quoted to say Enough is enough. We need to do something about this. Now, please, lend us your time for the cause of my fellow students and the Ypsilanti community.
YCHS 11th Grade Student
Youth Action of Michigan Co-facilitator