2014-2021 Press Releases
United Methodist Women: We Must Help Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline
Group Urges Members to Actively Support Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s Ending PUSHOUT Act
As the nation celebrates Black History Month, United Methodist Women today expressed support for U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley’s (D-MA) Ending Punitive, Unfair, School-Based Harm that is Overt and Unresponsive to Trauma (PUSHOUT) Act. As the largest denominational organization for women, the group urged its members to actively support the sweeping bill that incentivizes schools and states to end policies and practices that funnel black and brown children away from educational success and into the criminal justice system. The organization encouraged members to support the measure by:
- Urging their respective federal elected officials to support the bill,
- Utilizing United Methodist Women’s Bible study curricula around school pushout,
- Studying Monique Morris’ book, “Pushout” as part of the organization’s 2020 Mission u. Morris worked with Rep. Pressley on the legislation cited above.
“While for some folks the conversation about the school-to-prison pipeline and school pushout might seem like a new issue, the reality is that it is a continuation of a long-lasting, unfinished struggle for racial justice and educational equity,” said Emily Jones, United Methodist Women’s Executive for Racial Justice. “In introducing this bill, Rep. Pressley is building upon the work of grassroots groups such as Dignity In Schools, Racial Justice Now, Advancement Project, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, Alliance for Educational Justice, and others who have long fought to end punitive discipline. The Ending PUSHOUT Act is the next step in the ongoing work, pushing forward the efforts of generations that came before us — luminaries like Pauli Murray who wrote ‘States’ Laws on Race and Color,’ a key resource in changing history via the Supreme Court, and Mary McLeod Bethune who carved educational pathways as a black educator and institution-builder. At United Methodist Women, we believe the best way to celebrate Black History Month is to join in the struggle for black futures.”
Rep. Pressley’s Ending PUSHOUT Act creates a $2.5 billion fund to incentivize schools and states to: abandon unfair and discriminatory disciplinary policies and practices that push black and brown students out of the classroom; strengthen civil rights monitoring and enforcement; and establish a task force to address school pushout, with particular attention to girls of color. Participating states and schools would also be supported to invest in restorative practices, trauma-informed care, counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals. Funds may not be used for police in schools.
“To honor the call of Jesus on our lives and the movement of the Spirit in our midst, women of faith must be actively engaged, supporting directly impacted communities and people-of-color led groups in the fight for educational equity, racial justice and an end to biased, punitive and exclusionary school policies,” Jones concluded.
Contact: Yvette Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org