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

Coverage of the School Discipline Consensus Report

Coverage of the School Discipline Consensus Report

The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released the School Discipline Consensus Report on June 3. The report generated significant media attention, including articles and op-eds in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, among others.

Webinars

School Discipline Webinar for School Administrators, Educators, and Staff

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

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2014

The report presents the latest data on crime and safety at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, and principals using 23 indicators grouped under the categories: Violent Deaths; Nonfatal Student and Teacher Victimization; School Environment, Fights, Weapons, and Illegal Substances; Fear and Avoidance; Discipline, Safety, and Security Measures; and Postsecondary Campus and Security.

Media/News Coverage

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.


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.