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

How America Outlawed Adolescence

At least 22 states and dozens of cities and towns currently outlaw school disturbances in one way or another. South Dakota prohibits “boisterous” behavior at school, while Arkansas bans “annoying conduct.” Florida makes it a crime to “interfere with the lawful administration or functions of any educational institution”—or to “advise” another student to do so. In Maine, merely interrupting a teacher by speaking loudly is a civil offense, punishable by up to a $500 fine.

Nevada Task Force Analyzes How to Improve Juvenile Justice System

Compromised of lawmakers, judges and other officials, the task force wants to create better resources for youth cycling through the juvenile justice system.  Research showed that Nevada has seen a significant drop in the number of youth referred to the system, but a greater proportion of juveniles are receiving supervision, placed into residential centers and the state correctional facility. And services such as substance abuse, mental heath and therapy are not aligned with what youth need.

Are Young Girls ‘More Severely Punished’ Than Boys?

Juvenile justice professionals are ramping up efforts to address what they say is a population whose special needs have been largely ignored by correctional reform efforts: young girls. This winter, juvenile court judges and other girl-focused justice reformers will hold a closed-door meeting in Washington D.C. to discuss streamlining the nation’s hodge-podge of roughly 20 so-called girls courts—some of which do not adjudicate cases.