On Aug. 24, the Hollister School District Board of Trustees passed resolutions to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, and translate meetings and documents to Spanish. Trustees also selected future dates to discuss resuming in-person instruction.
The school-to-prison pipeline is a term used to describe school discipline practices and policies that disproportionately affect Black, Latino, economically disadvantaged, foster and special education students, effectively pushing them out of school and into the juvenile justice or prison system.
In keeping with the district’s move earlier this summer to remove school resource officers from its campuses, the resolution is a step toward removing police and adding more school counselors and support programs for students.
There were a number of public comments submitted in both English and Spanish in favor of the resolution. It was also a win for Youth Alliance, which has long advocated for action to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
A comment from Rigo Jimenez, associate director for education and justice at Youth Alliance, was read out loud by board clerk Jan Grist: “The fact that the term ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ is even in the resolution speaks volumes for those of us who have been set on dismantling it for years now because many school districts shy away from it. This is leadership! Having a task force composed of parents, school representatives, and community leaders, as is laid out in the resolution, can prove to be the groundwork for a completely reimagined way of addressing school discipline and support for students and teachers that will result in benefitting our community for years to come.”
The board also unanimously approved a resolution ensuring equity through interpretation of all board meetings and translation of all its documents into Spanish.
Superintendent Diego Ochoa said there has been more participation from the Spanish-speaking community since a live Spanish interpreter was added to board meetings. Ochoa and trustees Elizabeth Martinez and Carla Torres-De Luna shared experiences of having to be an interpreter or translator at a very young age for their monolingual Spanish-speaking parents.
“Being a child that had to translate for my parents and maybe sometimes didn’t do it totally correct, this is key for our parents and I am so happy to hear Spanish-speaking parents calling in and also asking questions,” De Luna said.
Hollister School District schools are now delivering all instruction through distance learning. When the board decided on that plan in late July, trustees said they would consider reopening schools when circumstances change. Trustees approved three dates—Oct. 13, Dec. 8 and Feb. 9, 2021—to make determinations on reopening campuses.
BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is working around the clock during this time when accurate information is essential. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.