Beyond Zero Tolerance: Creating More Inclusive Schools by Improving Neighborhood Conditions, Attacking Racial Bias, and Reducing Inequality

Susan Eaton

(Chapter 6 in Changing Places: How Communities Will Improve The Health of Boys of Color, Christopher Edley Jr., and Jorge Ruiz de Velasco, eds. The University of California Press. 2010.)

Policymakers, education experts, and advocates will likely have more opportunity in the coming years to advance alternatives to harsh, exclusionary school discipline policies. These policies and practices, created in the context of increasingly punitive crime and punishment policies for adults, have resulted in record-high suspension and expulsion for young people in our public schools. Males of color have been suspended and expelled at highly disproportionate rates. Effective remedies would focus not merely on schools, but respond directly to the social conditions outside of schools, such as neighborhood violence and concentrated poverty, which give rise to disruptive behavior and chaotic environments that, in turn, engender policies that seek to control and exclude students. Eliminating racial disparities in school discipline also requires helping educators recognize and actively respond to the racial bias they may unconsciously be acting upon as they make discipline-related decisions. This chapter explores the complex genesis of exclusionary school discipline and offers practical alternatives that encourage creation of inclusive school communities.

The new book, Changing Places: How Communities Will Improve the Health of Boys of Color, explores the root causes of vast inequalities and myriad challenges facing boys and men of color. A multidisciplinary group of leading thinkers and practitioners offers concrete recommendations for policy, practice and programming that improve the lives and life chances for boys and men of color, their families and their communities. This book includes contributions from several leading scholars including Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Angela Glover Blackwell, Pedro Noguera, Manuel Pastor and others.

The entire book can be found here: