8 Steps to Improving Discipline at Your Child's School - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

I was never suspended from school, nor was anyone in my family as far as I know. But that’s not to say that I didn’t attend underresourced schools that could have better met the needs of certain students.

In a post on the Colorlines website, an article includes information that can empower parents whose children may be unfairly targeted for suspension or expulsion because of race.

Do you have the facts on how your child’s school disciplines its students? Read more to find out how you can access illuminating data and what you should do with it.

Here are the eight steps, taken from Colorlines:

  1. Find your school or district.
  2. Pull up your school’s profile.
  3. Find the school discipline report.
  4. Be prepared for opposition.
  5. Be intersectional in your analysis.
  6. Put together a clear argument.
  7. Get more detailed information on the issue.
  8. Propose solutions.

Here is an excerpt.

  1. Find your school or district. Go to the site and look up the most recent data available for your school or district. Right now, that’s data from the 2015–2016 school year.
  2. Pull up your school’s profile. When you click on your school, it will pull up a profile that shows basic information about the students and teachers in the school. There are several links on the right side where you can find data on school discipline, access to gifted and advanced classes, and other issues.
  3. Find the school discipline report. One of the most important parts of the site is the school discipline report, which can be accessed via a link on the right side of the page. This is where you can find out if black students and kids from other marginalized groups are more likely to be suspended, expelled, or referred to police. You can also see who is most likely to be arrested at school by clicking on the school related arrests link.
  4. Be prepared for opposition. When you present the district data showing black students are more likely to be disciplined, you will inevitably find people who try to say that it’s because black students misbehave more. This is an untrue, racist belief. Be prepared to shut them down with facts. For example, research shows black and white students are sent to the principal’s office at similar rates and that they commit serious offenses, like bringing weapons or drugs to school, at similar rates, too. And when black students misbehave, they are punished more severely than white students who commit the same offenses.
  5. Be intersectional in your analysis. Pay attention to the intersections of race, gender, and disability status. For example, black girls tend to be disciplined at particularly high rates compared to white girls, and students with disabilities (defined as IDEA on the site)—especially students of color with disabilities—tend to be disciplined at the highest rates.

For more, and to see how people are using this data, visit Colorlines.

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