Real-Life Discipline Drama Heads to Sacramento

The school discipline story is often told in hard numbers: the 400,000 California students suspended every year, the 20% of students suspended by some school districts.

Now a new play puts a human face on the impact of harsh discipline rules.

The world premiere play ZERO from Cornerstone Theater Company features real-life stories from Sacramento students, parents, educators and community leaders struggling with current harsh school discipline policies. The play is performed by students and parents alongside professional actors as the story of what’s happening inside Sacramento schools and the community comes to life.

On Wednesday, June 27, the performers take their story to the State Capitol in a special reading for legislators considering eight bills to change school discipline rules.The event is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, author of one of the bills. “Talk It Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline” happens as part of a day of hearings on the bills in the Senate and Assembly.

“As stakeholders in the debate, students can offer a first-hand perspective on how suspension does nothing to address the real problems they are facing nor does it give them the tools to stop the inappropriate behavior the next time,” said Sen. Steinberg. “We’re all eager to hear what these young people have to say.”

In one scene from ZERO, a student facing suspension confesses to his father that “I feel like everyone expects me to fail.”

JAMES
I feel like everyone expects me to fail.

RANDALL
Don’t listen to them.

JAMES
Did you?

RANDALL
Did I what?

JAMES
Listen to them?

RANDALL
Yes.

(SILENCE)

Yes I did.

Playwright Julie Marie Wyatt worked together with community group including the Black Parallel School Board to dramatize the situation in Sacramento schools, where 47,768 suspensions and expulsions were issued in 2010-2011. That represents 20.2% of students based on a total enrollment of 235,053, about a third higher than the state average of 11.7%, according to the California Department of Education.

Watch a short video about the making of ZERO.


Talk It Out: A Community Conversation to Fix School Discipline
Wednesday, June 28
2:30 PM
California State Capitol
Committee Room 437

Admission is Free. Seating is Limited.

ZERO world premiere
Saturday, June 30

The Guild Theater


2828 35th Street
Sacramento, California 95817

Please RSVP by calling 1-888-802-6607. Advance reservations highly recommended.

Click here to learn more at Cornerstonetheater.org

© 2021