As states and school boards consider new policy recommendations on school discipline released by the Council of State Governments, community leaders with the Dignity in Schools Campaign call on policymakers to pay particular attention to reducing racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions and limiting the role of law enforcement in our schools.
“Students should not be removed from the classroom for minor misbehavior and schools must take action to end disproportionate rates of suspension, expulsion and police interventions for students of color and students with disabilities” stated Joyce Parker, member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign and Executive Director of Citizens for a Better Greenville in Mississippi. “These are some of many recommendations we support in the Council of State Governments report on school discipline.”
Every year, millions of students are removed from their classrooms for minor misconduct. A disproportionately large percentage of these students are youth of color, students with disabilities and students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Suspensions, expulsions and police interventions in schools harm students’ chances of success, prompting students, parents, educators, community leaders and policy-makers at the local, state and federal levels to take action to promote a more positive and supportive approach to school climate and discipline.
To better understand the most effective approaches to school discipline, The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) has worked with a core group of more than 100 key experts over the past three years in a consensus-building project to identify evidence-based recommendations to reform the system of discipline in public schools. Members from the Dignity in Schools Campaign including Citizens for a Better Greenville (MS),CADRE (CA), COFI/POWER-PAC (IL), Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (LA), the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc and Padres y Jovenes Unidos (CO) served on advisory groups as part of the consensus-building process.
The result of this undertaking, The School Discipline Consensus Report, has been released by the CSG Justice Center. The report includes a massive catalog of promising strategies that can be used to improve the discipline system at public schools, including 60 evidence-based recommendations. The strategies in the report are practical, innovative and are based on successful efforts that have been made in schools all across the country from Denver to Austin to Baltimore.
The CSG Justice Center released the report TODAY and will hold events throughout the week in Austin, Texas, on June 4 and Los Angeles on June 5. Michael D. Thomson, director of the CSG Justice Center, will outline the report’s top findings, highlight evidence-based strategies and present new data on school discipline rates. Maisie Chin, Executive Director of CADRE and Co-Chair of the Dignity in Schools Campaign Coordinating Committee will speak at the CSG event in Los Angeles on June 5th. Click here for more information on the upcoming events.