Interrupting Student Discipline: Youth and Community Resistance to Public School Discipline and Policing, 1945-Present

Endorsed by the OAH Committee on Teaching and HES

Thursday, May 4, 2023, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Crime and Violence; Education; Race


This panel seeks to discuss how students and communities of color have resisted the carceral approach to juvenile delinquency, student unrest, and crime in America’s public schools since the Postwar era. Relying on studies of school districts New York City, Detroit, and Philadelphia, as well as clashes on the federal level, panelists will discuss how student experiences of discipline and policing brought young people into conflict with education and municipal officials. It will explore possibilities, pitfalls, and tensions between movements for reform and abolition, and how these campaigns have evolved over time.

Session Participants

Chair: Dara Walker, The Pennsylvania State University
Dara Walker is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies and History at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her PhD in History from Rutgers University in 2018. Her research and teaching interests include African American history, urban history, History of Education, and the history of childhood and youth. Dr. Walker is currently writing her book, High School Rebels: Black Power, Education, and Youth Politics in the Motor City, 1966-1973, which examines the role of Black high school student organizing and politics in the development of Detroit’s Black Power movement. She is also currently co-editing an anthology, Youth in the Movement: High School Student Activism in Postwar America since 1945 with Jon Hale and Alexander Hyres. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the National Academy of Education, and the Spencer Foundation.

Panelist: Mahasan V. Chaney, Brown University
Mahasan Chaney is an Assistant Professor of Education at Brown University. Her research and teaching focus on education policy, and the history of education and center on three related policy areas: the racial politics of education, the politics of school punishment, and the ideologies and discourses of education reform. Chaney received her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019 and was later a postdoctoral researcher with the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (CSREA) and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Chaney received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship in 2019 in support of her historical research on school discipline policies. She previously worked as a restorative justice coordinator at her alma mater Berkeley High School.

Panelist: Menika Dirkson, Morgan State University
Menika Dirkson is a Visiting Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland. She received her Ph.D. in History from Temple University. Her M.A. in History and B.A. in History, Latin American Studies, and Cultural Studies are from Villanova University. She has received grants from the Philadelphia Foundation and Thomas Jefferson University’s Arlen Specter Center for her research on police-black community relations in Philadelphia following the Civil Rights Era. Dirkson is currently researching race, crime, and policing surrounding the public transportation system in post-1958 Philadelphia.

Panelist: Noah Samuel Remnick, University of Oxford
Noah Remnick received his PhD in history from the University of Oxford. He teaches American history at municipal and federal detention centers across New York, through Columbia University. His dissertation traced the history of desegregation, student resistance, and school policing in New York City. Outside of the academy, he has reported for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Atlantic.