Respecting the Voices of Youth: Studying School Security and Punishment
In this chapter I discuss the importance I place on a social justice-oriented motivation to scholarship and focus on the hazard that this motivation can result in judgment. It is easy to judge research subjects who may do harm without meaning to, or who are uncritical of social phenomena that we, as researchers, see as problematic—often including harms done to them. In my research I have had to learn how to appreciate the voices of youth who uncritically accept over-policing and unnecessarily harsh punishments in schools, since my goal is to learn from research subjects, not judge how they should or should not perceive their surroundings. This experience has (I hope) made me a better scholar and more effective advocate for youth. It has spawned new questions and insights, led me to a deeper understanding of the lives of the youth I was studying, and resulted in greater reflection on my own critical gaze.
KeywordsPublic schools School security School discipline School resource officers Ethnography Reflexivity
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