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03/2/2021 | Justice Transformation, Organizing for Education Justice

Network Youth Release Mandate for Education and Liberation

Last week, Black and Brown young people delivered their Youth Mandate for Education and Liberation calling on all levels of government to end the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline.

The vision and mandate demands Police-Free Schools, with three key elements:

  • Fund education, not incarceration; 

  • Restore and strengthen the civil rights of students; and

  • Uplift public education; end the private takeover of schools.

By reducing police power over students, we can begin to build a liberatory education system. This vision is possible, and the movement is growing. The Youth Mandate has been endorsed by more than 150 youth-led organizations and allies and over 2,000 individuals across the country, and you can join too if you haven’t already. Sign the petition to show your individual support!

The national outcry after the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black people have laid bare the urgent need to address the horrific and routine police violence Black communities face across this country every day. As the nation grapples with ongoing police violence, young people of color face a dangerous truth: the police who are harassing and brutalizing them in the streets are also present in their schools. 

Schools should be a place where young people can learn and thrive, but police in schools makes them places of fear and punishment. Placing law enforcement in schools increases the risk of arrest for low-level offenses, including disorderly conduct, disturbing the school, and other subjective offenses. Incidents that result in white students being referred to a principal or counselor end in Black students being referred to the police and prosecutors, despite no difference in behavior. These outcomes have an especially harsh impact on immigrant and undocumented students, who can face detention and deportation. 

The school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline is an egregious manifestation of systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence, but young organizers are showing us the way forward. Their calls for police-free schools and demands to invest in young people’s education are gaining momentum. With nearly 40 districts already having taken action towards removing police from schools, we know that young people’s goals are achievable nation-wide. 

Now is the time for us all to help amplify the voices of Black and Brown youth from across the country in calling on the Biden Administration, Congress, and local governments to create police-free schools and permanently dismantle the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline. Read and share the full youth mandate here.