The Parkland tragedy has once again ignited calls for arming teachers, increasing police presence in schools, and expending millions of dollars on security infrastructure. Security planning and infrastructure are important components of school safety. But, current efforts to redirect significant resources from more holistic considerations of student well-being and towards investments proven to criminalize children threaten to derail our partners' organizing efforts for the schools they need and deserve. For years, CJSF partners have been advocating for positive school climate efforts that include an embedded sense of safety and wellness for all students and an explicit emphasis on racial equity.
CJSF’s grantee partners are now walking into a stiff wind of local, state-level, and federal opposition. Those who seek to use this moment to “harden” our schools are not newly organized. Their efforts seek to move us away from the relationship building that is critical to seeing and supporting all children’s success and towards policies and practices that will further criminalize the act of childhood.
This moment has created a sense of urgency - to ensure we rethink safety as a nation in ways that do not further criminalize students. An accurate school safety narrative is explicit about surfacing the criminalization of youth of color embedded in too many conversations and the fact that more police in schools does not equal safety. True safety and wellness comes from investing in school climate efforts and social emotional learning.
In order to ensure that our partners’ voices are amplified and resourced to elevate the policy and practice solutions they want and need, CJSF plans to provide capacity support for mobilizations, communications, visits to state legislatures and capitals, and community education events. CJSF will resource efforts to push back against calls for more police funding, armed teachers, or militarized school buildings. We aim to ensure that our partners have the resources they need to not only maintain previous wins but to use the national spotlight to elevate a proactive vision for safe and healthy schools and to shift hearts and minds.
The Communities for Just Schools Fund is directing $50,000 in rapid response dollars to our grantee partners for these efforts. We invite others to contribute directly or to make aligned rapid response grants to organizations who have indicated their need to CJSF. For more information about how to contribute, please contact Deputy Director, Jaime Koppel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply for funding, please complete this brief form.