New Play Dramatizes Personal Stories of School Discipline

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Cornerstone Theater Company and The California Endowment, in collaboration with Khmer Girls in Action and Every Student Matters will bring the Long Beach community, policy makers, and the media together to share personal stories of school discipline and to discuss alternatives to zero-tolerance practices through an original play reading on Saturday, October 5 at 1:00pm at the Art Theater of Long Beach. The event is in coordination with the fourth annual National Week of Action on School Push Out and is free and open to the public.

The Week of Action will take place from September 28 to October 5, 2013. The week is organized by the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition of more than 76 youth, parents, educators, civil rights organizations, and social justice advocates that promotes alternatives to zero-tolerance discipline policies. Such policies have been found to result in much higher suspension and expulsion rates, often for minor misbehavior, fueling a “school-to-prison” pipeline.

“California schools are suspending and expelling students at alarming rates, removing kids for offenses that used to mean a trip to the principal’s office or a talk with a school counselor. During the 2009-10 academic year, California schools issued 778,000 suspension and expulsion orders, despite research showing no relation between harsh discipline policies and school safety, academic achievement or graduation rates,” said Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “A growing number of California youth, community and school leaders are joining together to call for common-sense approaches to school discipline that help kids learn from their mistakes while keeping them in school and on track for futu­­re success.”

Talk it Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline will feature a reading of a new play, Tangle along with a facilitated discussion with the audience. Written by Sigrid Gilmer, Tangle is based on real stories about school discipline performed by students,community members and professional actors. This new short play tells the story of how both students and teachers can be affected by troublesome experiences and how to work together to find alternatives to harsh discipline practices.

Talk it Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline is an ongoing program that creates original theater based on real stories from residents in communities across California and strives to raise awareness about the overuse of harsh school discipline on a local and statewide scale. The program offers participants a place to share first-hand perspectives and experiences in order to start a dialogue across California about the root cause of school misconduct and the need for better support systems, more accessible resources and school environments that create a place for healing instead of punishment.

The program is supported by The California Endowment a private, statewide health foundation that seeks to address the health consequences from the overuse of suspension and expulsion polices.

Talk it Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline

Saturday October 5 at 1:00pm

The Art Theater of Long Beach: 2025 E 4th St. in Long Beach, Ca.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited.

To reserve tickets please call 1-888-802-6607 .

About Cornerstone Theater Company –

Cornerstone Theater Company is a multiethnic, ensemble-based theater company. For 27 years, the organization has produced socially relevant and thought-provoking plays that bring together the artistry of professional and community collaborators to build bridges between and within diverse communities. Cornerstone offers people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures the opportunity to tell their stories through theater. Through its art-making, the organization has worked in hundreds of communities – reaching tens of thousands of individuals, developing and producing more than 90 original plays, and training over 2000 students in its unique methodology. Works are based on the conviction that aesthetic practice is social justice, artistic expression is civic engagement, and that access to a creative forum is an essential part of the wellness and health of every individual and community. For more information, visit

About The California Endowment –

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention.

The Endowment hopes to move school discipline policy and practice across California away from reliance on punishment and toward positive approaches that prevent classroom disruption and address the underlying causes of misbehavior. For more information, visit

About Khmer Girls in Action –

Khmer Girls in Action began in 1997 as HOPE for Girls, a Cambodian young women’s reproductive health and empowerment project. Through conversation and strategic planning by members and adult allies, Khmer Girls in Action was created to empower young Southeast Asian women to become relevant social justice organizers who can respond to the immediate needs of their communities. Throughout KGA’s herstory, our members’ brothers, partners and peers played a role supporting KGA’s campaigns and voicing issues impacting Southeast Asian young men.  In 2011 KGA began our young men’s program to include them in our fight for race, class and gender justice. For more information, visit

About Every Student Matters –

The Every Student Matters (ESM) campaign is the first student-led policy advocacy campaign being organized by the BHC Youth Committee. The ESM campaign is focused on promoting practices, policies, and programs in the Long Beach Unified School District that help students stay in school and graduate on time. The campaign seeks to work in partnership with LBUSD leaders, educators, parents, and students to promote a positive school climate and proactive alternatives to punitive, exclusionary discipline practices that currently remove students from the classroom and school. We seek to foster school discipline practices that address the root causes of behavioral issues, restore justice, and put students on a path to success.

About Dignity in Schools Campaign –

The Dignity in Schools Campaign is a coalition of more than 76 youth, parents, educators, civil rights organizations, and social justice advocates working to ensure the human right of every child to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC challenges the systemic problem of “push out” and promotes local and national alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal in our nation’s schools.

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