Giving Compass' Take:
- Brittany Talissa King discusses the benefits of restorative justice as an alternative to punitive disciplinary policies that disproportionately harm students of color.
- How can donors support the anti-racist work of implementing of restorative justice policies in schools?
- Learn about how restorative justice benefits youth and communities.
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Each school year, about 3 million students get suspended or expelled from school. But there are huge disparities in who those students are. According to a study published in American Psychologist Journal, Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be punished than students from other groups in school. For example, the Indiana Department of Education data shows, “Black students in Indiana are nearly four times as likely to get an out-of-school suspension than their white peers, and twice as likely to receive an in-school suspension…”
While those numbers should be unsettling for every parent, they’re especially worrisome to Black and Hispanic families – who see that pattern of disproportionate discipline repeated in state after state – and have to live with the too-common view that their kids are just more disruptive than other kids.
Bad behavior happens with all groups of students, of course. And schools need to take measures to protect students and staff or preserve order in the classroom. (According to the U.S. Dept. of Education School Discipline Laws and Regulations, there are five general types of disciplinary actions at the 133,090 U.S. public schools: in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, law enforcement referrals, school-related arrests; and expulsion). But when those measures are shaped by the teacher or administrator’s bias, an unclear or unfair disciplinary code, or the reluctance of schools to try to resolve the underlying conflicts that started a problem, it’s the Black and Hispanic students who too often pay the heaviest price.
There are ways, however, that parents of color can be on guard against excessive discipline and see to it that when their kids misbehave, the response is no different than it would be for a white child. Here are three important factors to consider and five things to do to help your child navigate disciplinary issues.
Read the full article about Black families fighting for restorative justice by Brittany Talissa King at The 74.