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

Massachusetts Had Hundreds of Suspensions Last Year—In Kindergarten and Pre-K

Massachusetts public and charter schools suspended kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students 603 times in the 2014-15 school year, a WBUR analysis of state data shows. Students in their first year of school were sent home for offenses that included hitting, disrupting, disrespecting, throwing things and fighting.

Opinion: Why School Suspensions Don’t Work

I never had a student change his behavior for the better because he was suspended. Most of the time students returned and reoffended. Time away from school seemed to exacerbate problems, not fix them.

Watchdog: Local Schools Working to Turn the Tide of Suspensions, Expulsions

DOE data shows most children are suspended and expelled for non-violent offenses, raising the question for local groups such as The Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children about whether suspensions are justified or if it’s just “easier” for teachers to send disruptive students out of the room.

Opinion: Ending Zero Tolerance Actually Slashes Crime in New York Schools

“Increasing graduation rates will lead to less crime and safer communities,” says the National Guard Youth Foundation, citing data that shows “67 percent of those incarcerated in state prisons failed to complete high school and 69 percent of local jail populations are made up of high school dropouts.”