What's in the School Discipline Consensus Report?

June 5, 2014
Colored pencils next to a stack of books.

“Millions of students are being removed from their classrooms each year,” reports the Council of State Governments Justice Center, “mostly in middle and high schools, and overwhelmingly for minor misconduct.”

In January 2014, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reported that over three million public school students received out-of-school suspensions in 2011 and over 100,000 were expelled. Kids with disabilities are typically more likely to be disciplined with exclusionary measures than other students, and African American students are over three times more likely than white students to be suspended or expelled for nonviolent behaviors.
To prevent students from losing classroom time, which often leads to kids dropping out of school or ending up in the juvenile justice system, the Justice Center has released The School Discipline Consensus Report [PDF]. The report reinforces the benefits of positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), restorative practices, bullying prevention, and other best practices for decreasing zero-tolerance policies and increasing students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.
Most schools that use CPI’s Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training are familiar with the evidence-based practices that the report supports—including PBIS, creating trauma-sensitive schools, and training administrators, teachers, and support staff in de-escalation skills.

The report’s recommendations echo and build upon the Guiding Principles [PDF] set forth last January by the Departments of Education and Justice, detailing dozens of practices for improving learning conditions, supporting students with behavioral needs, improving police-schools partnerships, and finding alternatives to arrests and suspensions for minor offenses. Blending strategies from the fields of education, health, law enforcement, and juvenile justice, as well as input from teachers, youth, and families, the report strongly supports positive efforts to keep all kids in school and out of trouble.

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