A Texas A&M-Texarkana Assistant Professor will discuss race and school discipline tomorrow.

According to a university press release, Dr. Sara Lawrence, assistant professor of educational psychology and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, will present a Program for Learning and Community Engagement SuperLecture on “Race and School Discipline: Why Zero-Tolerance Policies in Schools Earns a Failing Grade” on Thursday, April 13, at noon in the University Center.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Establishing a safe environment is the first step is in creating the optimal learning environment. After the tragedy at Columbine, zero tolerance policies were established in public schools across the United States. As a result of these policies, schools adopted safety guards ranging from much stricter behavior policies to metal detectors. While studies show limited advantages of these safety guards, other studies show zero tolerance policies have done much to further marginalize students based on race and ethnicity,” Dr. Lawrence explained.

“And now, as schools work to move away from the punitive policies of zero tolerance to more restorative justice practices, the culture of zero tolerance continues to threaten the realization of more equitable practices. The lecture will focus on the questions: How did we get here? And how can we alleviate the negative effects of zero tolerance to keep all of our students safe and ready to learn?”

PLACE is a faculty-led program designed to create a community of learners comprising A&M-Texarkana students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

“Faculty members annually choose a common theme around which to organize a lecture series and other activities that provide focal points for learning and discussion,” said Dr. Michael Perri, associate professor of history and chair of the PLACE Committee. This year’s theme is “Race and Ethnicity.”

PLACE’s goal is to expose its community of learners to a diversity of ideas from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. For more details contact Dr. Michael Perri at Michael.Perri@tamut.edu or Dr. Craig Nakashian at Craig.Nakashian@tamut.edu.

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