Updates from 2013
On June 25, 2012 a rubber noose was found hanging from a Davis High football goalpost. Because it is a symbol of terror and threat to life, hanging a noose at a school is explicitly defined by California Penal Code 11141(c) as a crime. In helping to shape a positive community response to this event, please understand more about hate crimes:
From the Community to the Classroom – Trailer
Young people have made a revolution in Davis, California.
In 2003, the Davis community was shocked by several hate crimes committed by local teenagers. Around the same time, new data showed disturbing racial and ethnic disparities in its school district, especially in academic achievement, class assignment and discipline patterns.
The events challenged the city’s self-perception that it was a progressive, high-performing university town. Nor were the hate crimes isolated acts, but part of a larger history about how Davis addresses race in general. Dysfunctional race relations were being passed down from one generation to the next, metastasizing from the community to the classroom. Davis had problems that needed more than band-aid solutions.
A broad-based coalition formed that year and urged the city to act. Over the next five years, the school district commissioned three diverse cohorts of high school Student Research Scholars to explore causes and solutions for the achievement and discipline gaps and the dysfunctional race relations among students. The Scholars were trained in action research, critical race theory and non-violent social change strategies, and conducted original social science research at their high school. They have presented their data at more than 60 venues, including at the state legislature and international conferences. Read their research >>>
After years of living in denial, the community began to see how it was perpetuating 21st century racism—and then started to address its problems. The district instituted several policy changes, such as universal testing for GATE, and community-school partnerships created a permanent forum for addressing systemic problems.
One of the Scholars’ original Action Items was achieved in 2007 when Davis High introduced a new fully-accredited history course that incorporated cross-cultural dialogue and relationship building, racial identity development, and action research training.
Through these and many other steps, the community tension began to ease and the educational inequities began to diminish.
In 2007, a small group of film makers wanted to record the struggles and successes their community had faced. Three years later the youth-directed, award-winning documentary From the Community to the Classroom premiered to a packed theatre in Sacramento. Watch the film >>>
In many ways ours is a success story, but really it’s just a chapter ending. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Read our blog >>>