The Protect Parent Voice policy has passed!
On Thursday, November 18th, Our Voice Nuestra Voz (OVNV) parents and members gathered at the Orleans Parish School Board as the board voted on a policy co-written by parents to protect their right to advocate and organize. The policy was unanimously approved by the board!
The policy protects parents’ right to advocate and assures parents that schools will be held accountable if they infringe upon this right. Much like how “right to organize” policies and laws protect workers’ right to organize and advocate, this policy protects parents’ rights to do the same with their child’s school. Read the full policy here!
Thank you to all of our members who worked so hard to make this happen, as well as to the Orleans Parish School Board for listening to parents and collaborating with them to create this policy.
Protect parent voice!
We know that parent engagement leads to student success; however, parents do not always feel welcome. Although we have the right to hold our children’s schools accountable, we have been met with tactics intended to silence us, intimidate us, and prevent us from actualizing our roles as partners in educating our children. These acts of retaliation and the fear of retaliation are a barrier to what we need in our city: true collaboration between parents and schools. We have been working with NOLA Public Schools to pass policy that protect parents’ right to be involved and advocate for their children, without the fear of being intimidated, silenced, or retaliated against.
Retaliation doesn’t always look like you would expect it to.
Retaliation, in any form, can be defined as “an adverse action against a person that is made in response to that person’s grievance or participation in an activity that is protected by law.” It can range from something not as obvious like delaying or not responding to emails and phone calls to more extreme, explicit actions like intimidating or even punishing you or your child.
The new Protect Parent Voice policy protects parents from these types of actions, and makes sure they know they are safe when advocating for their child.
How Parents Made It Happen
Parents launched their Protect Parent Voice campaign in order to enact policy that ensures parents’ rights are not infringed upon. The campaign grew out of parents’ stories of routinely being ignored when they communicated an issue, of having their children punished when they advocated for them, of being verbally threatened, and more. Members decided to organize around this issue so that every parent could advocate and engage with their school without fear.
OVNV members introduced the campaign publicly by holding a forum for school board candidates. During the forum they received commitments from all of the board candidates to work with parents to pass a police that protects their right to organize and advocate for their children.
Parents met with board members individually, and were invited to present their campaign publicly in front of the full board at February’s board meeting.
OVNV met with charter network leaders at KIPP, InspireNola, Success Prep, FirstLine, Crescent City Schools, and Community Academies. OVNV members began working with board members to co-write the policy.
The Orleans Parish School Board voted unanimously to approve the policy co-written by parents to protect their right to advocate and organize.