Philadelphia, Pennsylvania public school students have launched the "Safe to Count on Me Campaign." Their kickoff rally is scheduled for 3pm on April 25, 2012 at Norris Square Park (Howard & Diamond Streets) in Philadelphia. Confirmed guests speakers include:
· Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter
· Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez
· State Representative Tony Payton
· Student Advocates from Youth United For Change
Meantime the group is organizing and getting the word out through a coordinated facebook and youtube campaign. As of this writing the group has 877 members on its facebook group page. You can find that – and join – here. They write:
The “Safe to Count on Me” campaign aims to challenge the current negative image of young people in Philadelphia. We believe that all schools should be safe places of learning. However, the hostile environment fostered by the over criminalization of youth by Zero Tolerance policies have become a barrier to safe schools. In Philadelphia, there were 2,505 arrests made in schools during the 2009-10 academic year. The School District of Philadelphia also issued more than 46,350 out of school suspensions during the 2008-09 school year. Of those, 417 were kindergarten students! More than 108,000 school days were lost to students in one year due to out of school suspensions. And still, violence is up 2 percent in the School District this year. Zero tolerance policies obviously do not work. For the last ten years, these policies have created climates of fear towards youth, not climates of respect. It is time for something new. Philadelphia needs to implement Restorative Practice (RP); RP is a program that holds youth accountable and offers teachers, students, and families a way of converting problems into positive opportunities for learning while creating climates of respect. Through the “Safe to Count on Me” campaign, we will reclaim safety within our schools and communities.
They are also calling for "students, parents, educators, advocates, and community members" to make very short films – under 20 seconds – that are "personal, express something about who you are, show support for young people, and end with the slogan: 'It's safe to count on me. Is it safe to count on you?'" You can watch some of these videos on facebook or on YUC's youtube channel.