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Council of State Governments Releases Groundbreaking Consensus Report on School Discipline

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6/03/14

Today, the Council of State Governments, a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization of state government officials from all branches of government, unveiled an important new consensus report on school discipline.

Known for its practical, evidence-based research and reports, this Council of State Governments report is unique in its consensus nature; the report and its recommendations are the culmination of input from various school discipline stakeholders and sectors, including: education, behavioral health, policy, and juvenile justice, as well as policymakers, parents, youth, and advocates. 

The comprehensive report includes over 60 recommendations - drawing on proven best-practices - for reforming school discipline practices and improving conditions for learning in public schools.

"This roadmap for school discipline reform embodies a collection of best practices that are the result of consensus from different sectors, so this is an implementation tool from various stakeholders who all have a vested interest in reforming and improving discipline practices to ensure that our schools are safe and positive places where all children call learn and thrive," said Janel George, Education Policy Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, along with other Dignity in Schools Campaign members, contributed to the three-year consensus-building and drafting process for the report, which included input from over 100 stakeholders, including through listening sessions held around the country.

The report's recommendations will be instrumental in helping schools and districts to implement alternative interventions to harsh discipline practices.

Key recommendations include:

  • meeting issues related to race and the disproportionate impact of school discipline policies head on;
  • ensuring collection of data by districts, schools and educators that identifies and supports students who need targeted behavioral interventions;
  • involving family and community members with connections to the school through regular and meaningful opportunities to participate in school-based activities and decision-making;
  • ensuring that police are not involved in routine classroom management or the handling of minor offenses;
  • and ensuring the annual collection and reporting of disaggregated school discipline data.

Today, LDF continues its work to ensure that educational equity and opportunity are realities for all children in this country.  Critical to achieving that goal is curbing overly punitive school discipline policies that disproportionately push students of color out of schools and funnel them into the school-to-prison pipeline.

The Council of State Government's 2011 ground-breaking report on school discipline, Breaking Schools' Rules, helped to elevate the national conversation on discipline reform, followed by the launch of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative by the Departments of Education and Justice, and this year's release of joint discipline guidance issued by the Departments of Education and Justice and data by the Office for Civil Rights documenting discipline disparities.

For the Executive Summary, full report, and information on release events, which will be live-streamed, please click here.

To learn more about our work ending the School-to-Prison pipeline, please click here.