''Lionel”, is an 8-year-old that loves science and dreams of becoming a biologist. He's intelligent, kind, friendly and eager to please not only his teachers but also his peers. In the beginning of the school year, Lionel went to school, excited to learn and grow. But lately, his once-sparkling eyes and infectious smile have dulled to the point of sadness and dread about going to school.
Lionel is tormented daily by bullying, his spirit crushed by hurtful words and exclusion from his peers. Even with many phone calls from his parents, school leaders have done little to help. A now desperate Lionel reacts in the only way he knows how, and bullies receive this personality change as provocative and aggressive, creating open and sometimes disruptive conflict.
Lionel is a Black child with autism and must confront the challenges of racial and disability biases alone, leaving him vulnerable in a society that values punishment over support. This ongoing cycle of terror and exclusion silences him, denying him the opportunity to be truly heard and supported.
I am sure you understand, that the heartbreak of seeing your child terrorized and silenced daily is indescribable- especially when no school leader is providing any help or support.
The Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) is committed to working tirelessly with parents and children to empower them through educational justice. BPSB offers resources, trainings, and advocacy to help families overcome these obstacles and ensure that every child has access to a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment. We focus on helping children like Lionel get the education they deserve while empowering his parents to identify the right resources to make sure their child gets the education their child has a right to.
The Black Parallel School Board is a community based organization, formed in February 2008 because no forum existed for parents of color to address the educational crisis affecting their children. Thus, the Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) was designed to work in parallel with most of the Sacramento School District Boards. Its major responsibility is to support the educational growth and achievement of Black students, the lowest performing group in California. To move this group of students up from the ranks of the lowest performing, BPSB believes a specific focus is necessary, thus the name, Black Parallel School Board. Just as important, the BPSB also believes that if they can improve the educational circumstances of Black students who are the most pushed out, lowest achieving, and under-resourced group of students in Sacramento, they can improve the circumstances of all underperforming students regardless of race or color.
The Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) mobilizes, organizes, and recruits parents to take an active role in the educational lives of their children. They provide support and training to parents and the community to expand their power in creating systemic change to reverse the negative educational outcomes for their children. Through active participation, parents advocate for equitable instructional programs, activities, and resources to ensure that their children graduate with the greatest possibilities for future success.
Although we continue to focus our energies on parent training and support, we have expanded our foci to include the following:
- Helps ensure a quality education in a safe, nurturing environment for every child.
- Continue to provide school district staff and community members Restorative Practices, Race, Equity and Human Relations training.
- Continue to develop the School Safety Reimagine Plan to ensure safe schools for all students.
- Expand organizational funding to provide sufficient funds for student and parent services.
- Expand Special Education Support for parents to include IEP and 504 services.
- Expand organizational services to Black students who identify as LGBTQ+ and their families.
- Creates and distributes the Parent and Student Academic Achievement Guidebook.
- Hosts community events that align with School district programs and activities including college scholarships.
Several years ago, the BPSB added services to include race and equity training for school leaders because of a continued lack of understanding of the role race and culture played in the dynamics of assessment and instruction. To combat this knowledge gap, the BPSB began providing equity workshops to provide new perspectives on the same old problems. Our efforts led to school principals asking for training for their teachers. Several community groups have also asked for services. We gladly attempted to meet their needs with limited resources. We have since reviewed this effort and decided the concept of a Race, Equity, and Human Relations Summer Institute could be more effective and reach more participants annually.