School discipline tactics, such as suspensions and expulsions fuels the school-to-prison pipeline. According to the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition dedicated to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, “Every year, 3.3 million students in the United States are suspended from school, causing them to miss critical learning time, as well as opportunities to grow and succeed.”
National data proves that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended and more likely to be severely punished. This contributes to lower graduation rates.
In response to these issues, the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) launched the Boston Student Rights app in 2015 to prevent unfair discipline. The app provides accurate, easily accessible information on student rights and responsibilities in Boston Public Schools - everything from cell phones and dress codes to discrimination policies. It even allows students to file reports when something goes wrong at school.
It makes clear that in most cases schools must try alternative discipline or restorative justice before a suspension. It also lists examples of alternative punishments and restorative justice practices that can be used. There have been close to 10,000 visitors to the site since its launch and at least one student has used the app to successfully appeal an unfair suspension.
If you have an Android device you can download the app from Google Play. You can access it from other devices by going to bostonstudentrights.org. From there you can add it to your bookmarks or set it as your home page. BSAC is looking forward to more students finding out about the app and downloading it. The app is also available in Spanish and we are hoping to roll out additional languages. We are also planning to add additional information pertaining to LGBTQ and undocumented students.
In some high schools, the administration may not be aware of the current policies and make students suffer consequences they don’t deserve to face. This app is one way to prevent this from happening throughout BPS.