Enhancing Equity in School Discipline

105 Learners | 105 Completed Lessons | 26 Hours of Learning Time

Learning Activity

Recent research out there says that most disproportionality comes from unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias). Everyone has this type of bias to some extent. Although it occurs automatically and we're not consciously aware we're taking part in, it's generally not an indication of our beliefs and values. 

Implicit bias is a key aspect of disproportionality. This is because how we perceive an individual's attractiveness, sex, race, height, orientation, economic class, etcetera influences our decisions impacting that individual -- in particular, snap decisions and ambiguous decisions. For example, implicit bias predicts the extent to which (McIntosh, 2017): 

  • Arbitrators decide labor grievances in favor of women over men; 
  • Teachers of students with ASD experience anxiety, depression, and professional burnout;
  • Police Officers use force when arresting Black children as opposed to White children; and 
    Pediatricians recommend less pain medication for Black children than White children with identical symptoms.

5 Point Intervention Approach
PBIS Center's Disproportionality Workgroup developed the 5 Point Intervention Approach as a tool for addressing inequity in school. The components of effective intervention to prevent and reduce discipline disproportionality identified by this tool direct educators to: 

  1. Collect, use, and report disaggregated discipline data;
  2. Implement a behavior framework that is preventive, multi-tiered, and culturally responsive;
  3. Use engaging instruction to reduce the opportunity (achievement) gap;
  4. Develop policies with accountability for disciplinary equity; and
  5. Teach strategies for neutralizing implicit bias in discipline decisions.


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