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

Will New York City Flunk on School Discipline Reform?

At a recent hearing, the de Blasio administration signaled that the [proposed] suspension ban may come with major loopholes. According to a Department of Education presentation, the proposed “ban” may still allow for early-grade suspensions if “a student has already been removed from the classroom three times during a semester or twice during a trimester.”

Iowa District Pinpoints Areas to Improve School Climate

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center, which the district is partnering with on equity work, identified three key areas for the district to focus on: students’ relationships with teachers and mentors, inclusive school environments, and disciplinary environments.

Criminal Offense or Adolescent Misbehavior? ‘Disturbing Schools’ Blurs the Line

South Carolina law empowers school-assigned police officers to arrest hundreds of South Carolina students every year for the kind of adolescent misbehavior that in years past would have warranted a trip to the principal’s office or a brief suspension. Its vague wording allows it to function in some cases as a catch-all for bad behavior that doesn’t meet the legal standard for disorderly conduct or simple assault.

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance to Schools on Ensuring Equity and Providing Behavioral Supports to Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services recently issued guidance that emphasizes the requirement that schools provide positive behavioral supports to students with disabilities who need them. It also clarifies that the repeated use of disciplinary actions may suggest that children with disabilities may not be receiving appropriate behavioral interventions and supports.