School Discipline Consensus Project

Supporting Schools to Improve Students’ Engagement and Juvenile Justice Outcomes


Millions of U.S. public school students in grades K-12 are suspended or expelled in an academic school year, particularly students in middle and high school. Research demonstrates that when students are removed from the classroom as a disciplinary measure, the odds increase dramatically that they will repeat a grade, drop out, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. These negative consequences disproportionately affect children of color as well as students with special needs. Policymakers and practitioners have a growing need to identify strategies for effectively managing students’ behavior and aligning schools’ policies in order to support student engagement and learning, and reduce poor academic outcomes and juvenile justice contact. Although some states and local governments have taken promising steps to address these issues, decision makers and front-line practitioners lack a comprehensive, multisystem approach to making school discipline more effective.

In response, the Council of State of Governments (CSG) Justice Center is launching a national consensus-building project that will convene experts in such fields as school safety, behavioral health, education, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement, and child welfare. Youth, parents, and community partners will also play a critical and active role in the project to develop creative solutions.

The project will result in a comprehensive report that provides implementation guidance to minimize the dependence on suspension and expulsion to manage student behaviors, improve students’ academic outcomes, reduce their involvement in the juvenile justice system, and promote safe and productive learning environments.

The project is administered in coordination with the Supportive School Discipline Initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of Education in July 2011 and is supported by a public/private partnership that includes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, NoVo Foundation, The California Endowment, and The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Project Engagement

Multidisciplinary advisory groups have been convened to identify key issues related to academic success, juvenile justice concerns, and safe and engaging learning environments. Drawing on research, promising practices from across the country, and the expertise and experience of individuals affected by school disciplinary measures, these groups will reach agreement on recommended policies and practices that will make the most effective use of multiple systems’ resources.

The project team has also held focus groups and listening sessions with youth and professionals from various disciplines to ensure that all perspectives and voices are heard in developing recommendations for keeping children in the classroom and out of the juvenile justice system whenever possible.

To learn more about the large group convenings, click here.


Coverage of the School Discipline Consensus Report

Coverage of the School Discipline Consensus Report

The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released the School Discipline Consensus Report on June 3. The report generated significant media attention, including articles and op-eds in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, among others.


School Discipline Webinar for School Administrators, Educators, and Staff

School Discipline Webinar for School Administrators, Educators, and Staff

This webinar reviews a groundbreaking report released by the CSG Justice Center in June 2014, which provides 60 bipartisan field-driven policy and practice recommendations to provide students with safe, productive learning environments; effectively respond to students’ behavioral health needs; limit […]


Point of Entry: The Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline

Point of Entry: The Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline

This report from the American Progress highlights the trends around preschool discipline, and details the interconnected factors that augment these trends, including the rise of zero-tolerance policies and mental health issues in young children. It also explores factors that cause suspensions and expulsions, which includes the implicit biases of teacher and school administrators, the lack of resources for teachers and more.

Media/News Coverage

Is There a Right Kind of School Discipline?

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported on what appears to be the latest example of restorative classroom-discipline strategies going awry. Alongside a photo that features a scowling police officer, the article describes “another day of distraction” that included a girl getting harassed and a boy being offensively defiant with a teacher.

This report is a product of the School Discipline Consensus Project, a component of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative of the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.