Questions for ‘How schools can reduce excessive discipline of their Black students’

Students in a classroom

U.S. educators punish Black students more frequently and severely than white students. This discipline gap may help to explain why Black students, on average, score lower on standardized tests than white students.

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To accompany “How schools can reduce excessive discipline of their Black students


Before Reading:

1.  Have you ever gotten in trouble at school? How were you disciplined?

2.  Have you ever noticed any differences in how students are disciplined? Are punishments based on the severity of misbehavior or something else?

During Reading:

1.  Why was Anne Gregory troubled when she saw a line of mostly Black boys waiting outside the principal’s office at her school?

2.  What is the “discipline gap”?

3.  What is implicit bias? What is structural racism?

4.  What are zero-tolerance policies? How much of the racial discipline gap can these policies explain, according to Chris Curran?

5.  What is the “two strikes” paradigm?

6.  What is restorative justice? What does it look like in a school setting?

7.  What happened in Denver, Colo., when responsive circles were used to deal with student misbehavior?

8.  What is a “growth mind-set”?

9.  Why do researchers worry that the COVID-19 pandemic could make shrinking the discipline gap harder?

After Reading:

1.  Think about your school and the community you live in. With a partner or group, come up with three examples of structural racism and talk about how those policies or practices affect people of color.

2.  With a partner or group, come up with a plan for how restorative justice could be incorporated into your school’s disciplinary system.