As members of Fargo Moorhead Student Activists, an organization of students from the Fargo-West Fargo-Moorhead area, we have witnessed firsthand the disproportionate suspension rates of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students compared to their white counterparts.
Last week we announced our “Release The Data” campaign with the goal of encouraging local school districts to release suspension rates to the public. On Thursday, we met to shoot a video for our campaign in front of The Forum building. The day after our video was made, The Forum published an article titled “School discipline rates higher for local students of color: 'The system needs to get fixed.” The article outlined school suspension rates based on race for the Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo school districts.
We, FMSA, were pleased that our campaign was successful in pressuring The Forum to release valuable data that shows the past and present inequities surrounding suspension. We support Dr. Gandhi, the superintendent of Fargo Public Schools, in his proposal for implementing restorative justice. As he explains, “restorative justice is a theory of justice that focuses on mediation and agreement rather than on punishment.”
As an organization, we expect “all schools turn away from traditional forms of punishment to instead using restorative justice to resolve issues with students.” We commend Fargo Public Schools on their initiative to implement new disciplinary programs. The future holds opportunity for a more equitable and inclusive education system. We urge other school districts to follow in the footsteps of the FPS district by implementing restorative justice.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.