Why We Fight:
...To End The School-to-Prison Pipeline
For decades, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has refused to fund adequate resources and supports for students and instead invested millions in treating us like criminals. Black students have been disproportionately criminalized and pushed out of LAUSD by practices like: daily random searches, use of pepper spray against students, school police presence on campus, and more. We are fighting to end the school-to-prison pipeline and transform public education!
Students Deserve is a youth-led organization working towards making Black Lives Matter in schools. With over 30 chapters across the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States, Students Deserve has shaped policies for police-free schools, community schools, and investment in Black students.
We want schools to divest from criminalization and policing. We want schools to invest in us as Black, Muslim, undocumented, indigenous, and queer youth in poor and working class communities of color. We follow the lead of Black Lives Matter in demanding that our schools defund the police and defend Black life.
Students Deserve and our partners have won:
WHAT WE DO
The heart of our work is our vision for what Black youth and communities deserve.
This work has three main strands:
TO END POLICING & PRIVATIZATION
Ending policing and privatization are two ways that we are working to end anti-Blackness and to prioritize the leadership, experiences, and knowledge of Black people. We want to stop charter the school expansion and reconstitutions that target Black, indigenous, and low-income communities. These practices treat students, families, and teachers like problems rather than seeing us as beautiful, creative, and human. We want public schools to be places that welcome, support, and work with Black students rather than excluding, criminalizing, and pushing us out.
OURSELVES & EACH OTHER
We use political education to name and challenge all oppressive systems that harm people at school and beyond. By learning and teaching histories of dignity and resistance by oppressed communities, we build unity among people for the sake of increasing justice. As part of Making Black Lives Matter in Schools, we learn to recognize, name, and speak to the ways that anti-Blackness plays out in schools. When we understand these dynamics, we can better organize to end those conditions and create solutions that support the health and well-being of all Black youth and communities.
TO INVEST IN BLACK YOUTH & COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
We want real support for Black communities, indigenous communities, and poor and working class communities of color. This means schools with smaller class sizes and more arts, electives, college counselors, therapists, librarians, custodians, and healthcare services. When our communities have well-funded and high quality public schools, we don't need to turn to charter schools or rely on policing. We must DIVEST from a culture and a budget that polices Black students and INVEST in the well-being of Black students.
Since our founding in 2013, Students Deserve has reimagined public education across the Los Angeles Unified School District to make Black lives matter in schools.
Won creation & then expansion to $95 million annually for the Black Student Achievement Plan
Launched Students Deserve chapters at 17 schools and hosted Reimagine Public Education with LAUSD Superintendent
- Police-Free LAUSD Coalition Created
- Won $25 million divestment from LASPD, cops off campus, & a ban on pepper spray
Won first LAUSD "Community Schools" Resolution with partners in Reclaim Our Schools LA
- Historic Student/Parent/Teacher Strike
- Won an end to random searches & first 30 LAUSD Community Schools
First "Making Black Lives Matter in Schools" panel at Dorsey High School