The Equity Movement

Implementing the School Climate Bill of Rights

June 2014

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In California, boys are being pushed out of school: 16.8 percent of Latino males and 22.4 percent of African-American males dropped out in 2013, compared to nine percent of white males.

A youth-led movement has been brewing in Los Angeles for decades. Their demand is simple and clear: they want safe, high-quality schools for every student. In 2013, they led the passage of the School Climate Bill of Rights, which promises to end harmful discipline policies that push students — particularly boys of color — out of our schools, invest in smarter alternatives to suspension and provide clearer school climate data. But even with this momentous law in place, the district still has much work to do in making its vision a reality.

Improving school climate is a whole-team effort; it cannot be a top-down mandate. When students cry out, as they have in Los Angeles, for higher-quality school climates, all levels of our education system must respond with the support, funding, information and accountability.


  • The state should invest in data and in recognizing excellence among schools creating more positive school climates.

  • Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) should help schools transforms school report cards into parent-friendly, school climate “flashlights,” as well as invest in culturally relevant pedagogy and restorative justice.

  • Schools should reimagine mission statements as action statements, develop school-based action plans and develop school climate leadership roles for teachers.


About the Teacher Action Team

We are a diverse group of 13 educators who met for six weeks to review research on different national efforts to improve school climate, as well as local strategies being proposed or piloted by Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, LA’s Promise, Los Angeles Education Partnership, LAUSD and local charter networks. We conducted more than 120 peer and administrator interviews, and interviewed dozens of our students to gather critical stakeholder feedback. We also conducted a survey of more than 300 E4E-Los Angeles members and nonmembers to understand the most essential strategies for improving school climate.

Tunji Adebayo 7th-grade Life Science Teacher at ICEF Lou Dantzler Middle School

Steven Almazan 4th and 5th-grade Grade Special Education Teacher at NOW Academy

Edwin Castillo Math Teacher at Simon Technology Academy High School Melody Donnelly, Dean at Ingenium Charter Schools

Melody Donnelly Dean at Ingenium Charter Schools

Evelyn Duarte 1st-grade Teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School

Mindy Friedman 6th-grade Math and Science Teacher at Northridge Middle School

Betzabe Gonzalez 7th-grade History Teacher at Northridge Middle School

Donia Horton 5th-grade Teacher at Playa Vista Elementary School

Christina Kim 5th-grade Teacher at Wilshire Park Elementary

MJ Mathis Transitional Kindergarten Teacher at KIPP Empower

Araceli Morfin Special Education Teacher, Bridge Coordinator at Roosevelt High School

Kiechelle Russell Special Education Teacher

Jon Stewart Math and Spanish Teacher at Jack London Community Day