Education News

New Discipline Report Details Ways to Reduce School Suspensions

Reports includes data that shows drop in statewide suspensions, expulsions.

Three years after a groundbreaking study on just how many students are removed from Texas classrooms for discipline matters, new data shows those suspension and expulsions rates are dropping.

In three years, the number of Texas students suspended has dropped 9 percent. The number of expulsions has fallen even more by 28 percent.

That’s according to the Council of State Governments Justice Center.

This week it released a follow-up study to its sweeping 2011 report called Breaking School Rules.

Back then, it found that nearly 60 percent of secondary students in Texas were suspended or expelled at least once.

That report had a major impact on school discipline policy here in Texas and other states.

“When a student is suspended it’s clear that it increases the likelihood that he or she will repeat a grade or not graduate and it also increases the likelihood that he or she will become involved in the juvenile justice system,” said Michael Thompson, director of the center.

To help discipline systems in schools, the center has put together a catalog of recommendations. 

They’re not just for teachers and parents but also health professionals, court officials, probation officers and others involved in discipline matters.

There’s even a daily checklist.

Thompson said one example would be to look at the school code of conduct.

“Does it focus only on the consequences of a student misbehaving? Or does the school code of conduct make clear what’s expected of all students, parents and teachers in the school?” he said.

Thompson said the overall goal is not to just reduce suspensions but “to figure out a way we can provide a safer, more welcoming environment for all kids in the classroom that will in turn reduce.”

Thompson said reducing suspensions can improve other things in education like academic achievement and graduation rates for students of color, who are disproportionately impacted by harsh discipline.

 

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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