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

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

Dionne Grayman
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Dionne Grayman facilitates paradigm shifts. From providing brave space for Black and Brown mothers to create networks of internal supports to effectively address external challenges or ensuring that marginalized communities have access to democratic deliberative processes, her work is grounded in amplifying voice. As an educator, Dionne has worked with a range of young people from incarcerated Youth Development to students who attend specialized high schools in New York City. In her role as a Staff Developer for the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, she provides training and coaching support around the implementation of restorative practices to re-imagine schools as centers of belonging and high expectations for students of color. Dionne specializes in anti-Black racism, racial justice, and equity and diversity facilitating and consulting. A co-founder of We Run Brownsville, a grassroots effort to improve the health outcomes for women of color who live in neighborhoods deeply impacted by governmental disinvestment, she is skilled in planning and executing healing and wellness events to build community and foster awareness. Dionne She credits her parents for instilling in her the belief that being a smart Black girl with glasses was a revolutionary act. Dionne holds a dual BA in English and Journalism as well as an MS in Special Education. A 2019 BMe Vanguard Fellow for the Social Determinants of Health, she is most proud of being the mother of her three amazing children.

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