The Devastating Consequences of Zero Tolerance and School Discipline Policies

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Over the course of creating a critical reflective journal there is one experience that stands out. It was a visit to George Washington Community School, an urban school in Indianapolis Indiana, to observe the role of teacher preparation. During this visit my intent was to observe the concept of formal, common, and frozen registry for communication between teachers, students, staff, and community. During this exposure I was able to see discipline in a school setting in new and revealing way. I would like to present this experience and the interplay of registers of communication regarding discipline of students during a school day. I entered the school around 11:30 am on a typical school day. Lunch was ending for some and beginning for other students. I discovered the concept of frozen registry, or as defined as language to remain fixed/unchanged. I saw this in forms of school institutional laws of how to manage the safe and orderly entry into classrooms, halls, state standards, and student classroom behavior expectations. The language was clear for all reading the messages. Then I was introduced to formal registry in meeting personnel and teachers through out the building. Formal registry was defined as professional greetings, proper language exchange and communication that was contextual for academic exchanges. During this experience I was also exposed to students who spoke both formal and common registry. The observation exposed that the students choose to speak to one another in common or informal register. Common register included slang and coded words that only students used. There was clear interplay of exchange between professionals who use formal registry and students who speak in common registry. My observ... ... middle of paper ... ...ivil Rights Project. (2000). Opportunities suspended: The devastating consequences of zero tolerance and school discipline policies. [Report from a National Summit on Zero Tolerance.] Cambridge, MA; Harvard Civil Rights Project. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED454314). Devine, J. (1996). Maximum security: The culture of violence in inner-city Schools. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Feld, B. C. (1999). Bad kids: Race and the transformation of the juvenile court. New York: Oxford. Gorski, P. C. (2009). Cognitive Dissonance: A critical tool in social justice teaching. Skiba, R. J., Horner, R. H., Chung, C. G., Karenga-Rausch, M., May, S. L., & Tobin, T. (2011). Race is not neutral: A national investigation of African-American and Latin disproportionality in school discipline. School Psychology Review, 40, 85-107.

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