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

Youth-Offense Data Shared Under Arkansas Bills

The Arkansas House and Senate Judiciary committees both approved bills that would allow state officials to share some data on youth offenders. Senate Bill 8 and its parallel legislation, House Bill 1013, would permit the Department of Human Services’ Youth Services Division to release juvenile records to any person or group for the purpose of research.

Conneticut Governor Pushes for Juvenile System Reform

The governor’s proposal would allow offenders 20-years-old or younger to be tried as young adults within the juvenile justice system rather than the adult system. It would also eliminate bail for most minor crimes.

States Move Toward Treating 17-Year-Old Offenders as Juveniles, Not Adults

Seventeen-year-olds cannot vote, buy cigarettes or even adopt a dog from an animal shelter. But as of today, in nine states, including Louisiana, they are automatically handled as adults, rather than as juveniles. In two states, New York and North Carolina, 16-year-olds are as well.

New School Discipline Less Punitive, More Restorative

In the last decade, in Rochester, and across Minnesota, discipline strategies have shifted away from reactive discipline—like office referrals, suspensions and expulsions—which were reinforced by zero-tolerance policies, toward more “restorative” policies focused on encouraging positive behavior on the front end.