CDS’s Pell, other Delaware women leaders denounce gendered school discipline
CDS Instructional Coach Megan Pell and other education specialists at the Women’s Leadership Conference Delaware warned that particular groups of female students are being disproportionately targeted for out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. Pell and her fellow panelists were hosted by UD’s Delaware Academy for School Leadership and Partnership for Public Education Jan. 24 at Dover Downs.
A member of the Delaware Positive Behavior Support Project, Pell said rates of exclusionary discipline – punishments that remove students from class – “[are] up tremendously” among certain groups of female students, notably African Americans. A 2018 Government Accountability Office report on discipline disparities, for example, found that, “Black girls were suspended from school at higher rates than boys of multiple racial groups and every other racial group of girls.”
Several panelists expressed hope that a recent bill signed into law by Gov. John Carney could help reverse those trends. Sponsored by former Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, the legislation requires yearly reports from Delaware schools on disciplinary practices. It mandates schools that regularly exceed thresholds on suspension or expulsion rates take action to change their approach.
Pell said this reflects a growing belief among educators that restorative practice, which emphasizes group communication and consideration of the sources of behavior, offers a more effective way to discipline and rehabilitate students than suspension or expulsion. Here too, the panel identified a gender difference, this time among school administrators: females are more likely to apply such joint problem-solving strategies.
However, between an increasing statewide commitment to analyzing school data and the scrutiny of disciplinary practices stemming from Sen. Henry’s bill, those gender gaps may close, said Pell.
This entry was posted in About CDS, News, News from CDS and tagged Delaware Legislature, discipline, discrimination, Education, Education (ages 3-21), exclusionary discipline, gender, restorative justice, S.B. 85, sb 85, sb85, school discipline.