On December 2, 2014, Community Science Associate Jessika Bottiani, Ph.D., M.P.H., gave a talk at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural Competency Mini-Conference, sponsored by Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, and the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. Her talk was entitled, “Schools as Developmental Contexts: Implications of Racial Inequity in Adolescents’ School Experiences.”
Approximately 90 trainees, staff, faculty, and community members took part in the interactive session, which focused on inequity in school discipline and development of supportive school discipline practices. Applying an allegory, created by Camara Jones, of racial injustice to the school setting, Jessika invited participants to consider schools as gardens and to reflect upon whether punitive, exclusionary school discipline practices cultivate resilience in young people. Participants explored in group discussion the role of racial differences in punitive school discipline exposure to the school-to-prison pipeline. The talk emphasized the importance of building restorative policies and procedures in response to minor student infractions and moving away from zero-tolerance policies. Click here for a copy of Dr. Bottiani’s presentation.