Chin, Shapiro, Summers, Horton (Panel) — Session III

Panel: Racism and educational settings

Presentation 1: Discussing racism in the classroom

Sammantha Chin, M.A., Dara Shapiro, M.A., and Tara Summers, M.A. (Roosevelt University, Clinical Psychology)

Given the current climate of racial tensions, police brutality, and violence in marginalized communities, discussing racism in educational settings is especially important. Discussing racism in the classroom encourages positive intergroup relations by reducing prejudices and increasing understanding of others’ experiences. These discussions can be especially beneficial for students of color who often experience racial microaggressions both in and outside of the classroom (Kohli & Solózano, 2012; Suárez-Orozco et al., 2015). Although such discussions are often avoided due to instructors feeling uncomfortable and/or unprepared to facilitate them, they can ultimately empower students to promote social justice objectives (e.g., reducing racial violence in communities and other repercussions of institutional racism). We will present information regarding the benefits of having these discussions as well as suggestions for instructors to conduct these discussions in an effective manner.


Presentation 2. Negative consequences of exclusionary punishment on student emotional, academic, and identity development

Lindsay Horton, M.A. (Roosevelt University, Clinical Psychology)

School efforts to increase safety and enforce rules have been influenced by a zero-tolerance philosophy (American Psychologist, 2008). Zero tolerance policies incorporate exclusionary punishment techniques that remove children who misbehave from the classroom environment (Skiba & Losen, 2016). Exclusionary punishment operates from the same underlying social control philosophy that suggests that removal of a child from the classroom will increase safety, deter others from engaging in unwanted behaviors, and preserve the power and authority of school staff (Casella, 2003; Gregory & Cornell, 2009; Noguera, 1995; Skiba, 2014; Teasley, 2014). However, dealing with misbehaviors in this way may detract from positive school climate and make schools feel unsafe (Noguera, 1995). This presentation will examine research suggesting negative consequences of exclusionary punishment on student social-emotional, academic, and identity development. This presentation will also discuss racial disparities in the use of exclusionary punishment and its possible contribution to systemic injustices within communities of color.