Mission

We are a community powered group creating transformative change within Austin school systems by actively acknowledging and disrupting racist policies and practices; committing to daily practices where everyone thrives; and authentically engaging and amplifying community voices and advocating for Austin school systems to do the same.

Vision

Black, Indigenous, and Brown youth are fearless and living joyfully and abundantly in a world where they can advocate for themselves, their peers, and the next generation. All schools are culturally responsive and restorative, absent of police and policing, and safe learning environments where you can thrive regardless of your race, disability status, or how you identify.

Purpose

The purpose of the BASS Program is to create transformative change within Austin school systems so BIPOC students, families, and staff can thrive. We aim to achieve this through advocating for police-free schools. We recognize that safety does not exist when Black, Brown, students with disabilities, students who have immigrated, and LGBTQIA+ students are forced to interact with a system of policing that views them not as a child but as a threat.

Background

Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) has had Higher Learning, our youth program for BIPOC (Black Indigenous People Of Color) youth, for approximately 6 years. Racism and inequities regularly experienced by BIPOC youth and adults in AISD and weekly engagement with BIPOC youth currently in the Austin Independent School District (AISD) led AJC to challenge the school district to engage in transformative change.  

Adults and young adults in the criminal justice system now were likely “pipelined” to prison as early as the 3rd grade (school to prison pipeline). BASS focuses our efforts on transforming the school systems that are funneling our children into the criminal justice system. BASS has an organizing and program component both tailored to Austin school systems and youth. This program not only educates people on why this work is important but it also organizes the community to take action and advocate for transformative change.

Our Projects

Higher Learning

A yearly freedom school focused on political education, community building, and healing catered to Austin’s BIPOC youth. Relaunch coming soon!

BASS Coalition

Organizations that meet monthly and work together towards a common goal of police free schools in Austin.

BASS Workgroup

A group of community members who meet monthly and work together to advocate for equitable learning spaces where BIPOC youth and adults thrive.

January, 2017

BIPOC Youth Program Launched

We launched Higher Learning a free BIPOC youth program that is rooted in social justice, community building, and mentorship.

January, 2017

December, 2019

BASS Started to Work

BASS started to work towards transformative change in Austin school systems in response to the inequitable AISD school closure proposal.

December, 2019

June, 2020

BASS Coalition was Formed

We released this resolution and posted it on AJC’s website and we have since received a number of our ask. 

We formed the BASS Coalition with Educators in Solidarity, Measure Austin, Youth Rise Texas, Texas Appleseed, Texas Center for Justice and Equity, and Excellence and Advancement Foundation to work together towards a common goal of police free schools in Austin.

June, 2020

Quarter 2 of 2021

AISD PD Released

AISD PD released to subteam their: Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for Austin ISD Police Department released: including the Use of Force Total, Use Of Force for Black students, and Total arrests for Black students. In response to one of our resolution

Quarter 2 of 2021

Quarter 3 of 2021

Released AJC’s Student Code of Conduct

Released AJC’s Student Code of Conduct recommendations and some of our recommendations were incorporated into the 2022 version of the AISD student code of conduct.

Quarter 3 of 2021

Quarter 4 of 2021

Presentations

  • Presentations given: 
    • Educators In Solidarity Unconference 
      • History of Student Resource Officers in Austin ISD
      • Imagine Our Schools Without Police: Educator Focus Group 
    • Student Services Austin ISD Community Retreat subteam: AJC’s Student Code of Conduct History & Recommendations Presentation
    • Austin ISD Equity Office’s Community Retreat #5: History of Discipline in Austin ISD Presentation 
  • BASS community study group read: We want to do more than Survive by Dr. Betina Love, and Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation by Fania Davis
Quarter 4 of 2021

Quarter 1 of 2022

Austin ISD Police Goals Released

  • AISD releases their Austin ISD police goal of “eliminating the arrests of Austin ISD students by providing alternatives and supports to addressing student behaviors and through increased training and education for staff by the end of the 2024-25 school year.”
Quarter 1 of 2022
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