School Discipline Consensus Project

Supporting Schools to Improve Students’ Engagement and Juvenile Justice Outcomes


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.



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.

Press Releases

Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, School and Health Professionals Join Other Experts and Stakeholders to Forge Consensus on School Disciplinary Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center convened this week a group of more than 100 policymakers, national experts, educators, law enforcement and court officials, health professionals, students, parents and others committed to improving school disciplinary policies. The diverse, bipartisan national group commenced work on consensus-based recommendations for approaches to school discipline that keep kids in school and out of the juvenile justice system while providing a safe, positive learning environment.

Majority of Texas Middle and High School Students Suspended or Expelled: Repeated Suspensions Predict Later Involvement in Juvenile Justice System

NEW YORK—In an unprecedented study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students followed for more than six years, nearly 60 percent were suspended or expelled, according to a report released today by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center in partnership with the Public Policy Research Institute of Texas A&M University.


International Association of the Chiefs of Police

Online Training Series on Juvenile Interviewing and Interrogation

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has released a free, online training series on effective juvenile interviewing and interrogation techniques.

Safely Home

Safely Home

This report from the Youth Advocate Programs Policy and Advocacy Center highlights cost-effective, community-based alternatives to incarceration for high-needs youth.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013

Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2013

This annual report provides data on crime and safety in schools collected from a variety of sources, including the surveys of students, teachers, and principals.

Media/News Coverage

Minneapolis Schools Ban Suspensions of Youngest Students

Minneapolis public schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson has banned the suspension of the district’s youngest learners, a unilateral move aimed at keeping children in class and forcing teachers to dole out discipline in school.

Suspensions and Expulsions Down in D.C. Charter Schools

The expulsion rate for D.C. public charter schools in the past school year was about half of what it was two years before, and the rate of out-of-school suspensions decreased by about 20 percent in one year, according to a report released Thursday.

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.