Values-Based Responding to Bias Incidents

Empowering Our Students and Ourselves to Fully Feel Our Emotions, Take Responsibility for Our Actions, and Commit to Our Values

For teachers and leaders with STUDENT LIFE responsiblities, such as principals, assistant principals, deans, DEI directors, advisors, psychologists, and social workers

When students break rules designed to protect the learning community, these incidents are often challenging for educators—and understandably so. Any action that violates community values will leave people feeling frustrated and upset, if not downright angry and disgusted. When the incident involves an act of bias, these emotions tend to be even stronger, because they are a response to personal and historical traumas. Meanwhile, educators are expected to remain calm, professional, impartial or multipartial, and supportive. How do we move through bias incidents in a way that centers students who have been marginalized, offers a learning experience and a path back to the community for the student who committed the harm, and leaves educators feeling whole?

This workshop will provide tools and strategies, rooted in evidence-based psychological science, to help educators respond to bias in values-based ways. We will examine how to support all who are involved in a bias incident—including those targeted, those who committed the act, and the rest of the community—so that everyone can move forward. Participants will learn how to:

  • Notice, name, honor, and learn from their own emotions and values when responding to bias

  • Develop a plan of care for those targeted by bias, as well as the larger community

  • Use tools that promote values-based accountability for students who commit acts of bias

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© Lauren Porosoff and Jonathan Weinstein, 2021