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November 2, 2021
9781421442464
English
200
60165
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.9 Pounds (US)
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November 2, 2021
9781421442471
9781421442464
English
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9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$29.95 USD, £22.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Suspended

Punishment, Violence, and the Failure of School Safety

The disturbing truth: school suspension does more than impede Black students' academic achievement—it also impacts their parents' employment and can violate state and federal laws.

Decades of urban disinvestment and poverty have made educational attainment for Black youth more vital than at any time in recent history. Yet in their pursuit of quality education, many Black families are burdened by challenging barriers to success, most notably the frequency and severity of school punishment. Such punishment is meant to be a disciplinary tool that makes schools safer, but it actually does the opposite—and is particularly harmful for Black students and their families.

Focusing on schools in inner-city and suburban Detroit, Charles Bell draws on 160 in-depth interviews with Black high school students, their parents, and their teachers to illuminate the negative outcomes that are associated with out-of-school suspension. Bell also sheds light on the inherent shortcomings of school safety measures as he describes how schools fail to protect Black students, which leaves them vulnerable to bullying and victimization. The students he interviews offer detailed insight into how the lack of protection they received in school intensified their fear of being harmed and even motivated them to use violence to establish a reputation that discouraged attacks. Collectively, their narratives reveal how receiving a suspension for fighting in school earned them respect, popularity, and a reputation for toughness—transforming school punishment into a powerful status symbol that destabilizes classrooms.

A thought-provoking and urgent work, Suspended calls for an inclusive national dialogue on school punishment and safety reform. It will leave readers engrossed in the students' and parents' tearful narratives as they share how school suspension harmed students' grades, disrupted parents' employment, violated state and federal laws, and motivated families to withdraw from punitive districts.

About the Author

Charles Bell is an assistant professor of criminal justice sciences at Illinois State University.

Endorsements

"The details of the participants' narratives are rich and compelling."

- Bianca J. Baldridge, University of Wisconsin–Madison, author of Reclaiming Community: Race and the Uncertain Future of Youth Work

"Well-conceived and organized, as well as theoretically and empirically rich, this book holds the promise to impact practice and policy."

- Keffrelyn D. Brown, University of Texas at Austin, coauthor of Black Intellectual Thought in Education: The Missing Traditions of Anna Julia Cooper, Carter G. Woodson, and Alain LeRoy Locke

"Suspended is a penetrating study that reveals how school suspensions and unfair grading practices target inner-city Black children and set them up to fail in later life—a stinging indictment and a must-read for anyone wanting to truly understand persistent urban poverty."

- Elijah Anderson, Yale University, author of Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City

"Bell's analysis of students' experiences with anti-Blackness and school punishment is both powerful and gut-wrenching. Educators and student advocates who are serious about reducing violence in schools—especially the violence schools themselves perpetrate—need to read this unique and important book."

- Aaron Kupchik, University of Delaware, author of The Real School Safety Problem: The Long-Term Consequences of Harsh School Punishment

"Through the use of historical data, the lived experiences of students and families, and Dr. Bell's own self-reflection, Suspended makes a compelling argument that America's education system is an anti-Black institution. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline."

- Jason Smith, Executive Director, Michigan Center for Youth Justice

"Suspended is an innovative look at the deep criminological and policy connections between the carceral state and our public school systems. Urban areas with high rates of poverty and crime are often artificially created due to systemic racism and unjust government policies like redlining. This literature is a call to action to a major problem of race and class in our American educational system and provides recommendations for the future of our inner-city youth."

- Aaron Kinzel, Executive Director, Youth Justice Fund

"Bell's depiction of inequity and criminalization provides more evidence of the importance of enacting policies and practices that ensure the safety, equitable treatment, and well-being of all youth within schools, especially Black youth."

- Anthony A. Peguero, Arizona State University, coauthor of Immigration and School Safety

"In Suspended, Bell deftly weaves together academic theory, the voices of dozens of research participants, and his personal story to show how schools' approach to discipline and safety harms Black students and families."

- Benjamin W. Fisher, Florida State University
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421442464 : suspended-bell
Hardback
November 2, 2021
$29.95 USD
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Electronic book text
November 2, 2021
$29.95 USD

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