National Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)

The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) is a national coalition of 75 organizations from 22 states united to challenge the systemic problem of pushout  in our nation's schools and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC brings together parents, youth, advocates and educators to support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal in our schools.

NESRI serves as the Anchor Organization for the DSC and a member of the national Coordinating Committee. NESRI works with the DSC to organize national advocacy campaigns and actions, and to share strategies and best practices through annual meetings, webinars and the Campaign's on-line resource database.


Model School Code

The DSC Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts, and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential. NESRI served on the Editorial Committee for the Model Code and has continued to help coordinate the Model Code Working Group.

The Model Code is organized into five chapters:

1) Education,

2) Participation,

3) Dignity,

4) Freedom from Discrimination, and

5) Data, Monitoring and Accountability.

Each of these chapters addresses a different key component of providing a high quality education and reflects core human rights principles and values. Each chapter includes recommended policies for states, districts and schools. NESRI collaborates with DSC to provide workshops and webinars on the Model Code and to support DSC members in communities across the country in implementing sections of the Model Code through local and state-wide campaigns.

Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions

DSC and the national Opportunity to Learn Campaign partnered together to launch the Solutions Not Suspensions Initiative, a call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. Over 3 million students are suspended out of school each year contributing to pushout across the country. To implement this moratorium, Solutions Not Suspensions, a grassroots initiative of students, educators, parents, and community leaders, is calling on states and districts to support teachers and schools in dealing with discipline in positive ways - keeping students in the classroom and helping educators work with students and parents to create safe and engaging classrooms that protect human rights to education and dignity.

Federal, State and Local Advocacy

NESRI participates in Working Groups and projects of the DSC aimed at creating state and federal policy change to reverse zero-tolerance discipline and promote positive approaches to school climate.

Local/State Working Group – NESRI participates in the Local/State Working Group, a space for organizers, students, parents, advocates and educators working for local and state policy change to end school pushout. The goals of the working group are to support and connect local organizing campaigns around pushout, and connect local campaigns to federal legislative work on pushout, especially ESEA NCLB reauthorization.

Federal Strategies - NESRI participates in the Federal Strategies Committee and DSC Days at the Capitol to advocate for federal policy change to support positive approaches to school climate and discipline.

National Week of Action – Each year, NESRI participates in the DSC National Week of Action on School Pushout. The 4th Annual Week of Action took place from September 28 to October 5, 2013. This year's theme was Invest in Education Not Incarceration - "On average, states spend about $88,000 to incarcerate youth but only $10,000 to educate them."  Throughout the week, thousands of parents, students, educators and education advocates took part in parent and student-led actions and events around the country to expose the school pushout crisis and advocate for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity.

International Mechanisms

NESRI has also worked with the DSC to engage international human rights mechanisms as a tool for bringing attention to the pushout crisis in the U.S. and holding policy-makers accountable for human rights obligations.  NESRI has prepared shadow reports for treaty-monitoring bodies and submissions to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.  In November 2008, several DSC members provided testimony at the UN Forum on Minorities in Education in Geneva, Switzerland. Read the testimony from CADRE, NESRI’s partner organization.


Media Coverage
December 15th, 2014 | Teachers Unite & Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York
June 20th, 2014 | Chalkbeat New York
June 3rd, 2014 | The Center for Public Integrity