Writer for NEA Today Mary Ellen Flannery recently penned an article that describes a new discipline trend that can greatly reduce the number of students of color who enter the “school-to-prison pipeline.” This is welcome and promising news that could turn things around for many African-American males.

The entry to the “pipeline” begins when Black children are very young. “According to a new U.S. Education Department study, Black 4- and 5-year-old students account for almost half of the preschoolers suspended more than once from school, even though they make up just 18 percent of preschool students. Overall, federal data shows that Black students of all ages are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than White students.”

The negative impact of no-tolerance discipline is immediate. The data show that just one out-of-school suspension “greatly increases the odds of students repeating a grade, dropping out of school, and ending up in the criminal justice system.”

These policies and their impact are pervasive across the country, but Restorative Justice procedures seem to be changing things for many students of color. Rooted in African traditions, Restorative Justice is a conflict resolution practice that includes offending students, their parents, and educators instead of suspensions.

Learn more about this practice in the following video: