During this Thursday's premiere of The School Project's third segment, "Restoring Justice", young documentary filmmakers from Free Spirit Media explored the impacts of discipline policies on students, school communities, and society.
According to VOYCE Project, 324 students are suspended every day in Chicago Public Schools, 92% of those for minor infractions. Historically, excessively punitive policies have served to push allegedly disruptive students out of class and school and have fueled the school to prison pipeline (a term that illustrates the severity of the issue). "Restoring Justice" examines the movement toward more youth-centered, restorative justice practices, which began as a grass-roots effort and have subsequently been adopted to district leadership.
A night of film, community discussion, and spoken word, the event's turnout was tremendous in both its size and diversity. Over 200 youth from Chicago Public Schools and residents from 61 out of Chicago's 77 neighborhoods, including Mayoral runoff candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, showed up to listen to the issues Chicago's school system faces around student discipline.
The night was a great success! We are so impressed and humbled by the amazing young people at Free Spirit Media who've helped foster a vibrant and enlightening debate about restorative justice in our schools. If you missed the film, you can watch it again on The School Project's YouTube page, here. Make sure to subscribe to the channel to stay up to date on our weekly film releases!
But that's not it for The School Project! The conversation on the state of Chicago schools continues with our next event on March 31 on testing in schools and the PARCC, a widely controversial new standardized test.