The death of Freddie Gray while in police custody is a national tragedy. We support his family and the millions nationwide who call for justice in his case. We support the thousands who have peacefully joined protests for justice. The national media coverage of the Baltimore uprising continues to sensationalize the violent responses of some of those protesting while ignoring the thousands of people across the country peacefully gathering to demand an end to violence inflicted upon our communities.
We will watch intently the outcome of the charges filed yesterday against six police officers allegedly involved in the death of Freddie Gray.
However, the pursuit of justice must not be isolated to this single case. Cries for justice should not only surround Gray’s killing, but also include many people of color who are disproportionately targeted, arrested, and killed by police across the nation.
We also seek justice and fairness for millions of students who are subject to inequitable treatment in our nation’s schools. At the Network for Public Education, we fight for strong public schools and the right of all students, current and future, to receive a quality education.
Notably, across the United States, there are educators implementing restorative justice practices in schools to build affinity and de-escalate tensions before they lead to additional violence and a school-to-prison pipeline. Schools often exacerbate the criminalization and dehumanization of our youth, but they can and must be part of the solution.
At our recent national conference, many spoke on the need for communities of color and education organizations to coalesce to fight for social justice. Some spoke on the need for us to address racial injustice and inequities more directly. We encourage our members and educators everywhere to teach, discuss and learn with and from our students about these issues.
We stand with the people of Baltimore crying out for a nation to see their pain from persisting injustice and inequality. We stand with the students of Baltimore who live in a school system inequitably funded and resourced, who have expressed to the nation that they feel oppressed and ignored.