Possibilities for Interrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

When: September 8, 2015

Guest: Kathy Evans and Johonna Turner

In 2014, school administrators received a “Dear Colleague Letter” from the US Dept of Justice and the US Dept of Education highlighting racial disproportionality in school discipline. The letter calls for schools to begin addressing the excessive use of suspensions and expulsions and suggests that restorative justice might be one alternative to exclusionary discipline.

According to educational researcher, Ann Gregory, disproportionality in school discipline is related to a lack of cultural responsiveness in classrooms, as well as things like implicit bias, negative stereotypes, and low expectations. She suggests that building healthy relationships with students might “interrupt” some of those factors, building trust, understanding, and cultural awareness. Restorative justice practices are built on those assumptions. In her 2013 research, Gregory found that implementing restorative practices in school increased the likelihood that students felt respected by their teachers and decreased the disparity gap in school discipline.

In this webinar, Carl Stauffer, Kathy Evans and Johonna Turner from Eastern Mennonite University, will discuss Restorative Justice in Education and examine the ways in which the implementation of restorative justice in school settings can address racial disproportionality and interrupt the cradle to prison pipeline.