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Using 'Reflective Discipline' to Reduce Racial Disparity in Referrals and Suspensions

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, schools suspended 2.7 million students in 2015-16, and black boys made up 25% of that number, and black girls 14%, even though they together are only about 15% of all students. Similarly, 31% of students who were arrested or referred to police were black. And data shows these racial disparities in discipline are growing in American public schools.

We’re joined by Dr. Martha Bireda, author of the new book “Reflective Discipline: Reducing Racial Disparity in Referrals and Suspensions” which explores these trends, and proposes ways for teachers, administrators, and school resource officers to take cultural differences and implicit biases into account during disciplinary situations.

Dr. Bireda is also a lecturer with more than 35 years of experience as a diversity trainer and consultant, and she is Director of the Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture in Punta Gorda.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week.  Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.