EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Hundreds of students attended a conference to learn how to overcome social justice issues at their schools.

Zemor Tevah, one of the educators at the event, told 22News students have a hard time feeling comfortable, “I feel like a lot of times, students are punished for being themselves. They’re constantly being policed and told what to do all day. To be able to change that dynamic, so that, they actually have a space where they feel comfortable.”

She and hundreds of educators and students, attended the Transforming Education for Social Justice conference, to find out how to make their schools more racially and gender inclusive.

Mishie Serrana from Holyoke High School said the school is taking matters into their own hands, by engaging in “circle practice” as a form of discipline, “Where students can talk things out with teachers, faculty, and even other students. So we that we can avoid altercations all together, further bringing down the suspension rate in our schools.”

The all day conference was coordinated by Collaborative for Educational Services. It was held at Easthampton High School. A school that was investigated by the Attorney General’s ofice for racial incidents, resulting in diversity and inclusion training.

Safire DeJong, from Collaborative for Educational Services told 22News, “Work on a long term plan school transformation plan to address some of the racism and other issues that have come up over the years. The school has invested making those changes and we’re here to support.”

Saturday’s conference included 14 session groups, running an hour and half long. Allowing concerned attendees time to voice their frustrations, ask questions and receive answers.

CES provides services for 37 different school districts in western Massachusetts.