• New Haven Public School "Socialist Scholars Party" Group Celebrates Activism, Pushes Radical Demands For '23-'24, Including CRT, SEL, Restorative Justice

    Photo Credit: Maya McFadden, Socialist Scholars Instagram Page

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    New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) students, school staff, and community members came together to celebrate the activism and work they completed this year, and to begin planning for next year, at a party on June 17, 2023.

    The Saturday event was organized by the group "Socialist Scholars Party" which was co-founded by the Board of Education’s rising senior representative (from Wilbur Cross School), Dave Cruz-Bustamante. 

    Around 45 people joined the event and listened to Cruz-Bustamante detail the student's ​“Hope and Victory Directives” for the fall. 

    The directives were based on survey of over 50+ students from 5 different high schools who were asked to elaborate on their vision for a better school system for each of the following items:

    Then a committee composed of 10 union workers, youth activists, community organizers, and specialists sorted through and synthesized the 400+ student responses into a set of four directives:

    • Power back to The People! - The students demand that "democratic control of schools be a guaranteed right for all students." They want to give student-led "Peoples Assemblies" the legitimate authority to create and maintain policy. They also want to mandate student inclusion in district funding and curriculum decisions.
    • Clean and Functioning Facilities - The students demand that the district democratize work order processes, add at least 3-6 gender-neutral bathrooms in every school, and require that "school administrations and facilities teams provide reports to student committees and people’s assemblies detailing areas of improvement, accomplishments, and spaces for feedback and mutual accountability."
    • Lessons that Make Sense - The students demand to be taught critical race theory and social emotional learning. They demand that queer sex-ed be included in sex education. And they also want more social justice lessons in order to "foster political, cultural, and civic involvement."
    • Safe Schools for All - The students demand that the district "values and centers the community, mental health, and lives of students and their humanity as well as building new systems of accountability to repair harm within the community." This translates into an $800k training for teachers and students on restorative and transformative justice. The students also want to create a transformative justice program within the district that allows peer-to-peer mediation.

    The NHPS Citywide Student Council, a committee comprised of high school student council members, previously voted to pass a draft version of the radical, progressive directives in April.

    Others speakers at the June 17th event included Connecticut Communist League Party members Waleed Ahamad (wearing a shirt with a solidarity fist holding a sickle and hammer) and Newhallville organizer Jamal Henderson; Connecticut Socialist Revolution member Gabrielle Reed; and Connecticut DSA members Jacey Long and Bryan Chong.

    The student activists must be proud to have turned out representatives from the major communist and socialist groups in the state.

    “Tell the people, hear our cries!” students called out at the end of the event. 

    ​The comrades responded, “now’s the time to organize!” 

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