School Discipline Consensus Project

Supporting Schools to Improve Students’ Engagement and Juvenile Justice Outcomes

Overview

Millions of U.S. public school students in grades K-12 are suspended or expelled in an academic school year, particularly students in middle and high school. Research demonstrates that when students are removed from the classroom as a disciplinary measure, the odds increase dramatically that they will repeat a grade, drop out, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. These negative consequences disproportionately affect children of color as well as students with special needs. Policymakers and practitioners have a growing need to identify strategies for effectively managing students’ behavior and aligning schools’ policies in order to support student engagement and learning, and reduce poor academic outcomes and juvenile justice contact. Although some states and local governments have taken promising steps to address these issues, decision makers and front-line practitioners lack a comprehensive, multisystem approach to making school discipline more effective.

In response, the Council of State of Governments (CSG) Justice Center is launching a national consensus-building project that will convene experts in such fields as school safety, behavioral health, education, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement, and child welfare. Youth, parents, and community partners will also play a critical and active role in the project to develop creative solutions.

The project will result in a comprehensive report that provides implementation guidance to minimize the dependence on suspension and expulsion to manage student behaviors, improve students’ academic outcomes, reduce their involvement in the juvenile justice system, and promote safe and productive learning environments.

The project is administered in coordination with the Supportive School Discipline Initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of Education in July 2011 and is supported by a public/private partnership that includes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, NoVo Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Atlantic Philanthropies.


Project Engagement

Multidisciplinary advisory groups have been convened to identify key issues related to academic success, juvenile justice concerns, and safe and engaging learning environments. Drawing on research, promising practices from across the country, and the expertise and experience of individuals affected by school disciplinary measures, these groups will reach agreement on recommended policies and practices that will make the most effective use of multiple systems’ resources.

The project team has also held focus groups and listening sessions with youth and professionals from various disciplines to ensure that all perspectives and voices are heard in developing recommendations for keeping children in the classroom and out of the juvenile justice system whenever possible.

To learn more about the large group convenings, click here.

Announcements

atlanticopensociety

Discipline Disparity Briefing Papers Released

With support from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, the Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative released three briefing papers that provide new research and recommendations to reduce or eliminate profound disparities in school discipline.

Webinars

SDCPSquare

School Discipline Webinar for School Administrators, Educators, and Staff

This webinar reviews a groundbreaking report released by the CSG Justice Center in June 2014, which provides 60 bipartisan field-driven policy and practice recommendations to provide students with safe, productive learning environments; effectively respond to students’ behavioral health needs; limit […]

Publications

Not Measuring Up

Not Measuring Up

This report from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice analyzes Massachusetts’ most recent school discipline data and finds that students of color, students with disabilities, and charter school students in Massachusetts are disproportionately likely to be suspended, particularly for minor misbehavior.

Dignity in Schools

Accountability Guidelines on School Pushout and Charter Schools

The guidelines from the Dignity in Schools Campaign encourage all schools that receive public funding to implement best practices that will help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline through inclusive and positive school discipline practices.

American Bar Association

Foster Care and Education

This issue brief from the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education explains how federal guidance from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice on school discipline can be implemented to help improve outcomes for children in foster care.

Media/News Coverage

How Strict Is Too Strict?

Over the past two decades, hundreds of elementary and middle schools across the country have embraced an uncompromisingly stern approach to educating low-income students of color.

Charter Schools Suspend More than Traditional Schools

Boston charter schools are far more likely than traditional school systems to suspend students, usually for minor infractions such as violating dress codes or being disrespectful, a high-risk disciplinary action that could cause students to disengage from their classes, according to a report released Tuesday.

City Schools’ Suspensions Challenged

A new report examining student conduct and discipline shows that suspensions continue to be alarmingly high in the Rochester City School District in New York State.


This report is a product of the School Discipline Consensus Project, a component of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.