The Campaign for Nonviolent Schools, a coalition of Philadelphia youth organizations, is mobilizing supporters to endorse their new platform, which addresses:
- Student voice to highlight the importance of student feedback;
- Student support and services to create a community motivated toward success;
- Restorative practices as an approach to discipline;
- Classroom engagement to ignite a love of learning
"It's basically a holistic picture of what a nonviolent school looks like," said Nijmie Dzurinko, executive director of Philadelphia Student Union.
Members worked for six months to formulate the platform, which was released in March.
They are calling on the state to invest in public education, believing budget cuts will drive up the youth prison population.
In January, the campaign celebrated a year of working toward creating better school climate and safety.
Since last year's kickoff, in which members participated in a 650-person youth-led march down Broad Street, the campaign has held many anti-violence events.
Last April, members held the city's first "Nonviolent Flashmob." In November, they organized a Youth Power Summit, where more than 220 students from 40-plus schools participated in workshops that encouraged leadership and anti-violent conflict resolution.
Dzurinko pointed to a student from Bok who wanted to create a Gay Straight Alliance at his school, "and after the summit he was really inspired and moved forward with the plan."
Jordan Harris, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission, said while the events have garnered attention, "we're also focusing on making recommendations to the District."