The Grammar of School Discipline examines how seemingly discrete school discipline policies and practices constitute a particular grammar: Removal, Resistance and Reform. Weaving numeric data with portraits of students and school practitioners, the authors detail a nuanced landscape of school discipline in Alabama and its anti-Black foundations. The removal of Black students can be traced to the antebellum construction of Blackness as criminal, deviant, and deserving of punishment. A focus on resistance centers the agency that students and practitioners exercise despite anti-Black removal. An exploration of specific reform efforts emphasizes that even the most well-intentioned and well-organized reforms are limited when the removal of students remains an option for practitioners. The authors end with an appeal to educational stakeholders to repair the harms that these anti-Black policies and practices inflict on students and communities, and thus move towards repairing the damage that white supremacy inflicts on everyone’s humanity.
Hannah Carson Baggett is associate professor of educational research in the College of Education at Auburn University.
Carey E. Andrzejewski is professor of social foundations of education and educational research in the College of Education at Auburn University.
Foreword by Cheryl E. Matias
Introduction: Any Given Day in an Alabama Alternative School
Part I: Removal
Chapter 1: Methods of Removal written with Nicholas P. Triplett
Chapter 2: Motives for Removal
Chapter 3: A Portrait of Removal – Cotton County Schools written with Jasmine S. Betties and Sangah Lee
Part II: Resistance
Chapter 4: Removed for Resistance
Chapter 5: Who are the “Bad Kids”?: Portraits of Alternative School Students written with Sean A. Forbes
Chapter 6: Resistance and School-Based Practitioners
Chapter 7: Hitting Kids “Just Doesn’t Sit Well”: Resistance to Corporal Punishment written with Benjamin Arnberg
Part III: Reform
Chapter 8: Efforts Toward Reform
Chapter 9: A Portrait of Reform in Timber County written with Nanyamka A. Shukura, Sangah Lee, and Jasmine S. Betties
Part IV: Reparations
Chapter 10: The 4th R
Chapter 11: Self-Portraiture, Problematics Positions, and Politics
Bagget and Andrzejewski document the harms we do to students through racialized discipline, how students and educators resist, and how we can reform and repair our schools. Their argument is thorough, well-supported, and balanced. It shares an unflinching view of the humanity of students who resist and endure a system of school discipline built on white supremacy.
Hannah Carson Baggett and Carey E. Andrzejewski dare to tell the story of the school/prison nexus in Alabama. Given the fact that this happens in the state with the highest rate of prison deaths in the country, they offer a challenge to those who say they are concerned with justice: we will either accept the violence of white supremacy against the Black body in schools as truth or engage in practices that actively seek to dismantle and abolish a system centered in human subjugation and isolation.