In Urbana Schools, 66% Of Total Suspensions Are Black


Urbana City Council Meeting July 13, 2020 - 7:00pm CDT via Zoom

Public input & participation instructions Zoom webinar participants Telephone participants

It is important to share your opinion on school safety. School shootings, bully's, drugs and gangs are real safety concerns for our schools. However, the increased school to prison pipeline is a real issue as well.

Schools need to be careful who they hire. Hiring officers with the RIGHT ATTITUDE is most important. They have to be comfortable & culturally responsive to working with Black kids.

Schools should not hire officers based on experience alone but attitude, perception, and empathy towards Black and Brown students. For example, an officer that WON'T OVER REACT to Black boy's slap boxing, because we know this is what ALL boys, especially Black boys do. Of course, they should stop them calmly and talk to them about school not being the place for that.

From my experience, officers that work well with a schools when they only respond to urgent calls. School Administration should to be the first response to school fight issues, unless it is an emergency or Administration calls the officer. Officers should not be visible all the time during school, Administration and teachers should. Officers should be more visible at arrival and dismissal. Otherwise, they should be watching cameras and waiting for a call.


Below is an article submission form Ameena Payne and team: Restorative Justice through a Critical Race Lens The question of safety in schools is not just about preventing extreme forms of violence, fights, or bullying. It is also about shrinking the achievement gap since the way USD116 disciplines its students will either help or hurt academic achievement. “Time spent learning is the single best predictor of positive academic outcomes.” Suspensions and expulsions are time spent out of the classroom. At the heart of restorative justice is the idea that everyone is inherently worthy and that our connection to one another is what matters most. In a restorative response, schools are reminded that when a student does something ‘against the rules’ the important thing is not that a rule has been broken. Schools create rules for the purpose of helping us stay safe and live well together.  This idea helps move the focus beyond rules to the people involved and the relationships that have been harmed. Each situation is unique, each person involved has different needs, and each solution looks different.  What remains the same is that schools 'should' seek to repair harm and make things as right as possible. This is very different from a punitive approach that seeks to blame, shame and give a ‘wrongdoer’ what they ‘deserve’. A restorative approach is also in alignment with the Mayor/Council priorities on building safe communities and recruiting, retaining and supporting exceptional staff. “A truly diverse community values racial equity, as well as socio-economic equity.” – Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin Restorative Practices in USD116 have not been implemented (or even attempted) with a critical race lens. In a restorative approach, we seek to strengthen the essential ties that bind us to one another – in the classroom, school and the community. Thus, any attempt at rebooting restorative practices must be done though a critical race lens. The Need to Divest from Police in Schools The only reasonable and evidence-based solution is to shift financial investment from the Urbana Police Department to other departments that strengthen our public schools, communities, improve social determinants of health and well-being, and allow leaders to focus on alternative forms of safety and prevention in schools. Our Board of Education (BOE) and community leaders must be able and willing to commit to restorative action for the positive transformation we want for our kids and Urbana students. Urbana needs strong leadership, at every level, that is willing to lean in even when it's uncomfortable and embrace that discomfort to help cultivate a better future for students. Reminder: Urbana City Council Meeting July 13, 2020 - 7:00pm CDT via Zoom Public input & participation instructions Zoom webinar participantsZoom webinar participantsZoom webinar participantsZoom webinar participants Telephone participants TAKE ACTION - Click *this link to send a pre-filled public input email to all city council members, the Mayor, City Administrator, and City Clerk. Emailed public input will be incorporated into the public meeting record, with personal identifying information redacted. You may email public input between 8 am and 4 pm on the day of the meeting to *This link will open up your mail application/browser, you may wish to allow your computer/mobile device to automatically pull up your preferred email method.

Click this link to send a pre-filled email to Urbana Board of Education (BOE) members. In solidarity, Ameena Payne and team