The symposium starts with a quantitative paper that highlights that as scholars and educators strive to become more trauma-informed, it is critical that the integral role of sexism, racism, and systemic oppression. We recognize trauma is not neutral and, consequently, educational responses to trauma likewise cannot be neutral. Using ACEs data from the National Children's Health Survey, this study presents how Black girls are overrepresented in 7 out of 9 measures of ACEs. Implications for intersectional and responsive trauma-informed practices are discussed
The next paper builds on this through a grounded theory multiple case study that explores how teachers and school staff perceive, are impacted by, and respond to the manifestation of trauma. The resulting conceptual framework challenges the individual-deficit approach to trauma by illuminating the nexus between teacher education programs, district policies, resources, staff experiences, and collective well-being in schools. Implications call for schools to dismantle the institutional conditions that (re)produce harm.
Focusing on school discipline, the third paper critically examines the disproportionate impact of exclusionary discipline on preschoolers through the use of a narrative analysis. Analysis of interviews with preschool teachers, administrators, and staff highlight five distinct themes of extra-exclusionary discipline in preschool contexts: disenrollment, early release, in-school, referral, and virtual measures. Findings build a blueprint of trapdoor exits that estrange children and families from early care and education.
The last paper concludes the symposium through a phenomenological analysis of the district wide implementation of restorative justice at three high schools to address discipline disparities between Native students and White students. Interviews with principals, assistant principals, school social workers, and students inform if and how a restorative justice approach improves school based relationships and garners a sense of belonging for students. Findings highlight the challenges of RJ being vested in one school social worker. The discussion focuses on what is needed to ensure system wide changes occur.
Taken together, this symposium describes how social work researchers can contribute to systems-change solutions toward PreK-12 educational equity. Through policy and practice improvements, the creation of a new conceptual framework, and a critical program evaluation, this symposium will provide guidance for advancing racial and social justice in PreK-12 schools.