A Reason to Prevail: Atiya’s Thanks to Supporters

November 14, 2014

You might expect Atiya Haynes to be downhearted.

After all, the 17-year-old honor student and community volunteer was suspended for the rest of her senior year by the Dearborn Heights school district, another casualty of misguided zero tolerance laws. Read more about the case.

She joins hundreds of thousands of U.S. students who are at risk of being forced from public schools each year by policies that ignore individual disciplinary concerns and shoehorn students into one-size-fits-all policies.

Atiya was suspended but had she and the ACLU of Michigan not successfully prevented an expulsion, she would have been barred from every public school in Michigan

Yet when we spoke to her last week, she was excited to resume her education in a different school district. She was passionate about working on her new radio show, a step towards her goal of working in broadcast media. Most of all, she was extremely grateful for the support she's seen.

Her statement and a short video is below.


 
"I have heard from a lot of supporters. They far outweighed the negative voices, but I'm happy even for the negative people. At least people are talking about these issues, paying attention to what's happening to students facing zero tolerance issues.

I wasn't aware of zero tolerance policies before this happened to me. I just wasn't aware of it. It has opened my eyes to how hard we have to fight for justice.

I'm so thankful to everyone who has supported me. I feel that when you're supporting me, you're being a voice for other students

I'm thankful for the organizations who helped me, like the ACLU of Michigan, Repair the World and the Michigan Roundtable.

I'm fired up. I want to succeed now even more than before. Not only that, but I want to work to help students who didn't have the support of organizations, news media and all the supporters. To say to those students that I've felt what you feel, I've been where you are."

The ACLU of Michigan is working to reform our state’s zero-tolerance laws, as well as ensure that every district knows about the exceptions to the law. It's what students like Atiya deserve.

Key News and Documents

Know Your Rights When Facing School Discipline

The ACLU of Michigan & Student Rights

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