Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study on How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement

Research Overview

The CSG Justice Center, in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, has released an unprecedented statewide study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students, followed for at least six years. Among its startling findings are that the majority of students were suspended or expelled between seventh to twelfth grade.

Funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, this study also found that when students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly. African-American students and children with particular educational disabilities who qualify for special education were suspended and expelled at especially high rates.

Research Report

To browse an online version of the report, click on the cover below and scroll through the pages using the arrow buttons on the sides. A link to download the pdf is included below the online version of the report.

Download the Report: Breaking Schools' Rules: A Statewide Study on How School Discipline Relates to Students' Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement (.pdf)

Media Coverage

A briefing to present the findings of the Texas study, conducted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University, was held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011. The event also featured a discussion by Texas stakeholders about strategies to keep schools safe and reduce high rates of suspension and expulsion.

Download the Press Release: New Report on How School Discipline Relates to Academic and Juvenile Justice Outcomes (.pdf)

Related Resources

Opportunities Suspended: The Disparate Impact of Disciplinary Exclusion from School

The first in an ongoing series of national studies by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Right Project.

Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation School Discipline conference, Feb. 2012.

CSG Justice Center Research Director Tony Fabelo featured on research panel.


Recent Headlines

Bibb School Discipline Numbers Take a Dip

Over the past five years, Bibb County (GA) schools have seen a sizable drop in discipline issues, from the number of suspensions to other infractions requiring punishment. Ed Judie, the former assistant superintendent of student affairs, said he attributes some of the recent success to the start of the new Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program.

Michigan School District Rethinks Discipline, Aiming to Curb Number of Suspensions

Grand Rapids Public Schools leaders anticipate its mediation and dialogue approach to disciplining will continue the decrease it’s seeing in suspensions, down by 444 from last year. In fall 2013, the nearly 17,000-student district announced it would be piloting the restorative justice approach to handling behavioral problems with students, rather than a punitive approach that often leads to suspension.

Buffalo Public Schools’ Disciplinary Policies Get More Scrutiny

Several community and public school advocacy groups highlighted a decline in suspensions among the Buffalo school district’s students before Wednesday’s School Board meeting, where the board made further changes to its discipline policy and set a date to interview more candidates for the permanent appointment as school superintendent.