Alright – so, will this be the year this bill finally passes and gets a ring. We will see. Below is my testimony in its first hearing in the Education Policy committee in the House.
Minnesota House of Representatives
Education Policy Committee
Chair Rep. Pryor
Wednesday, January 18, 2023 – 3pm
Re: Supporting bill# HF-58, Prohibiting Suspensions up to 3rd grade
Dear Madam Chair and Members, many thanks for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Idil Abdull; I am a Somali Autism Mom & a tired pissed-off advocate.
First, I want to thank Rep. Richardson for her focus and tenacity on this issue.
Emotional trauma is the end result of events or experiences that leave us feeling deeply unsafe and often helpless. It can result from a single event or be part of an ongoing experience. For black and brown families in public school districts, trauma is often based on events that are grounded in bias and discrimination. No human should experience trauma even once.
This committee has traumatized me for years because each time I testify and restate what happened to my child in Jefferson high school, I am traumatized. My son has nonverbal autism, did not understand suspension then, and does not understand it now. Yet, teacher Kelly Morris who is protected by the teacher’s union, and principal Jaysen Anderson who is protected by lobbyists and associations suspended him on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, at 5:18pm. In fact, they make more money and have higher positions than they did in 2018. There is absolutely no meat off their bones.
Do you know how this makes me and other similarly situated parents feel? It makes me feel helpless and unappreciated.
It is not lost on me and should not be lost on you that no DFLer can be in control without the vote of black and brown folks. Yet, our children are failing in school and getting suspended disproportionately. Why? I want you to think about that.
We are watching you this year as there is no one else to blame, you control all three government branches now.
In Somalia, we say; Aqoon la’aan waa iftiin la’aan. While it loses its poetic meaning, in a nutshell, it means – education is the sight, smell, and sound of life, prosperity, and success. Our children are being denied this fundamental human right to life and success.
I am cautiously optimistic that this year you will finally put a ring on this suspension bill and carry it to the finish line. Here is the hearing via YouTube if you wanna watch it. Rep. Richardson, You rock!
Idil – Somali Autism Mom & Advocate
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.