» » OPINION: ‘Punitive discipline makes school feel like a prison, not a community’

OPINION: ‘Punitive discipline makes school feel like a prison, not a community’

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Four ways to stop undermining education and educators

During horseplay with friends, a young man — a high school student — had shoved an elderly woman.

Now, he risked suspension. I was working in the student’s school as a staff developer at the time, helping to implement restorative practices as part of my work with Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility. I drew the young man into a “restorative conference” with the principal and others.

Research shows that students of color are punished far more often and more harshly than white students for the same infractions — and sometimes for no infractions at all. That’s because often suspension isn’t about a child’s harmful behavior. It’s about adult assumptions and lack of awareness, especially related to race, class, gender and sexual orientation.

Read more at The Hechinger Report

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Dionne Grayman facilitates paradigm shifts: Whether providing a liberated space for mothers of color to create internal support networks to better address external challenges or ensuring that marginalized communities have opportunities to be seen and heard, her work is grounded in amplifying voice.An educator, Dionne has over twenty years of experience in co-creating learning spaces centered in belonging and joy with a range of young people from incarcerated youth on Rikers Island to students at Brooklyn Technical High School, long regarded as one of the country's best. In her role as staff developer for the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, she training and coaches leadership and staff in the implementation of restorative practices inside of New York City public schools. She is currently a lead facilitator on the federally funded i3 Project, a bold undertaking to disrupt racial inequity and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.In 2015, as co-founder of We Run Brownsville (WRB), a not-for-profit women's only running group in a historically marginalized neighborhood, Dionne has carried her work from the classroom into the wider community where she continues to believe that the collective power of the people is the most effective mechanism for leading transformation from within and informing policy without. Black and brown women with little to no experience in running, receive professional training to complete a 5k race. Imbued with confidence, WRB women have assumed leadership positions within local parent associations, the community board, respective church homes and career fields.Most recently, Dionne serves as the community engagement consultant for United for Brownsville, a collective impact and participatory-planning initiative dedicated to improving outcomes for 0-3 year olds in Brownsville by helping families and service providers work better together. She works alongside project leadership to co-create strategies; engage in thoughtful planning; provide skilled facilitation, and ensure that their commitment to be held accountable to community members is a high priority.A lover of all things Toni Morrison, the Golden Era of Hip Hop and coffee, Dionne holds a BA in English and Journalism, and an MS in Special Education. Born to parents who grew up in public housing, she credits them for the belief that being a smart black girl with glasses is an act of revolution.Dionne is most proud of being the mother of three incredible children who keep her hip, cool and dancing.

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