Anti-racism, Black mattering (or lack thereof) in K-12 schooling; violence; policing of Black children; spirit murdering; Afro-Pessimism; Anti-Blackness; and Critical Race Theory


When students are tracked from their schools into the juvenile and adult criminal justice system, primarily because of zero-tolerance policies, they fall victim to a practice that is now widely known as the school-to-prison pipeline. President Obama urged educators to abandon severe disciplinary policies that criminalize students for offenses that could be handled without law enforcement (Du, 2015). A review of the literature indicates a disproportionate number of Black students are at a greater risk of being adversely impacted by such policies thus increasing their chances of having a negative educational experience. Research shows that Black students receive higher rates of suspension, harsher discipline, and more special education referrals than do their similarly situated white counterparts. Policies that adopt positions of zero tolerance to justify colorblindness work against the academic achievement and persistence of Black students. Anti-Blackness Theory and Critical Race Theory are used to establish a connection between the Black K-12 student experience and the application of zero-tolerance disciplinary policies. To supplement this examination of how school disciplinary polices operate in school settings, I draw from a recent qualitative study of public-school leaders and teachers in the New York City metropolitan area.



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