Press "Enter" to skip to content

Building Racial Equity Through Trauma-Responsive Discipline

ASCD – Micere Keels |

We can expect that the mental health effects of the pandemic will hit Black Americans, and particularly Black children, the hardest. Black children will lose the most caregivers to this virus, experience the deepest plunge into poverty, and have the steepest climb to economic recovery. Additionally, research on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina tells us that many educators will perceive Black children’s stress reactions as willful disobedience and respond with punitive discipline (Marsee, 2008).

Now more than ever, encouraging the use of trauma-responsive discipline with all students could go a long way toward reducing the harm that the racialized application of punitive and exclusionary discipline has on the education and life outcomes of Black and brown children.

Micere Keels is the director of the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project and an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.