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Reducing the Racial Gap in Student Suspensions With an Empathic Mindset Intervention

July 21, 2022



There is a racial gap in student suspensions, with African American students accounting for almost a third of all suspensions but making up only about a tenth of the student population. This gap has been shown to be partially attributable to the way that suspensions are enforced and handled, with African American students experiencing harsher punishments than their white peers.

A study published in the journal Social Science Research found that a mindful mindset intervention could reduce the racial gap in student suspensions. The study, conducted in a suburban middle school in the United States, found that after the Mindful Discipline intervention was implemented, the racial gap in suspensions was reduced by almost 20%.

The intervention was designed to help teachers and students develop a mindful mindset, which is defined as a state of awareness and attention that is focused on the present moment. The intervention consisted of eight sessions, each lasting about 45 minutes. In the first session, the teachers were taught how to implement the mindful mindset intervention in their classes. The second and seventh sessions were dedicated to training the teachers on how to use the intervention in different disciplinary situations. The fourth and eighth sessions were used to assess the impact of the intervention.

The results of the study showed that the racial gap in suspensions was reduced by almost 20%. This reduction was most significant among African American students, who saw a reduction of almost 50%. The study also found that the intervention was well-received by the teachers and students.


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