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

Denver Public Schools Pledges to Address Student Discipline Concerns

Denver school officials recently agreed to establish a centralized system for responding to complaints about school discipline, to better inform students facing expulsion or suspension of their rights, and to investigate concerns about schools underreporting discipline data.

Students May Grade Teachers

New Haven, Connecticut, high school students may soon get the chance to give their teachers a grade, as school leaders revamp the system’s “school climate” survey for next year. Superintendent Garth Harries and district survey coordinator Carolyn Ross-Lee discussed the details of this potential change with members of the Citywide High School Student Cabinet this week. A committee has been working since last year to update the school climate survey, which allows parents, students, teachers and administrators to provide feedback on their experiences in their schools.

North Carolina Lawmakers Probe School Districts on Discipline Standards

The North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus will kick off their Education Tour with administrators of Lexington City Schools as well as a conference with Winston-Salem ministers, said Rep. Garland Pierce. “The tour is a fact finding tour on the dropout and suspension rates of our youth,” he said. “We plan to meet with school administrators and educators throughout North Carolina to determine where we can close the education gap and keep our children in school.”

Minnesota Bill Would Bolster Teachers in Discipline Matters

In the latest of a series of legislative proposals responding to high-profile incidents of school violence, state Rep. Jenifer Loon proposed steps that she says assures teachers: We have your back. The bill—presented to the House Education Finance Committee that she chairs—affirms a teacher’s right to remove students from class for disruptive behavior, and requires teachers to be notified when kids with violent pasts are placed in their classrooms.