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 a groundbreaking statewide study of nearly 1 million Texas public secondary school students, followed for at least six years. Funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Foundations, this study 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

Opinion: Draw from Juvenile Justice System’s Strengths for Better Approaches for Young Adults

During the past decade and a half, the number of young people confined or placed out of the home in the juvenile justice system has been cut in half. While there is still much more progress to be made—the country is still incarcerating far too many young people, particularly young people of color—what is happening in the juvenile justice system stands in stark contrast to the challenges seen in reducing adult imprisonment.

Bills to Reduce School Suspensions, Expulsions Head to Michigan Governor’s Desk

The legislation, approved with overwhelming support, tones down “zero tolerance” policies which require automatic suspension or expulsion for students who commit offenses such as assault or bring a weapon to school. Instead, school administrators would be required to consider factors such as student’s age, disciplinary history, whether the student has a disability, and the seriousness of the violation.

Want to Improve Grades? Ask Students How They Feel in Class

“Every school, every school district, and every state should be very serious about routinely and systematically assessing school climate, because it really is one of many key determinants of student performance and success,” says Shaun Harper, executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

New York Changes the Way It Keeps Tabs on School Violence

New York State education officials voted recently to change the way the state tracks school violence, hoping to improve a system that has been called confusing and inaccurate. But because the system will continue to rely on schools to report data, it may not offer a clearer picture of how dangerous the schools might be.