Fredrick Douglas said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
I couldn’t agree more, which I why I hope IPS leaders continue to be bold and continue to strive for our children to have a just and equitable education. It does matter for the futures of IPS children.
In June, I offered public comment at the IPS action session in support of our youth and to advocate for their rights to equitable treatment in the IPS education system. I spoke up because I hope the district sees I want to be their partner in building the strong men and women of tomorrow.
I’m glad they passed such bold goals for Black and Latino IPS students because it matters. As a single mother, I know that it takes a deep partnership to make sure my children get what they need inside and outside of school, especially as many of us still face unprecedented times of hardship.
I trust that the leaders in our school district are doing their best to maintain our IPS families, but we would be amiss to ignore that there are still gaps and much more work ahead of us.
For instance, the school-to-prison pipeline needs to be addressed. Discipline is more than punishment. Preserving our children — not penalizing them — is the priority. Sustaining them over sentencing them, and restoring them over refusing them an equitable opportunity. We need to put emphasis on encouraging and maximizing their full potential, rather than prioritizing the use of extreme measures to address poor behaviors. Discipline needs to be balanced. Not only does it entail punishment, but also requires empathy, patience, stress management, and conflict resolution.
I want the leaders of the IPS district to prioritize developing programs that help implement positive models of behavior for students. Root causes of unseemly behaviors need to be our focus if we are to properly address them. Our kids need to understand the cause and effect of what they say and do and we (both parents and IPS staff) should be their models on the front line.
Secondly, the use of referendum dollars must be maximized. We should be prioritizing the youth who are in most need and include schools of all types in the IPS family. Where our heart is, where we invest our treasures, and where we invest referendum dollars is a reflection of where our priorities lie as a community. We don’t throw away opportunities for our finances to grow, so why throw away opportunities to grow our youth? It’s time to make investments that will contribute to building and preserving this generation for the future.
In all, we have to cultivate healthy relationships with our youth so that we, as adults and caretakers, can offer them proper guidance, protection, and correction. We want to safeguard, help, and contend for their future.
These kids are going to the grave before they can even discover who they are and execute their purpose. Addressing key needs for our youth will help bring clarity and push successful outcomes. We’ve got to break the mold for us to save lives.