Reframing School Discipline
Use of exclusionary discipline, where students are removed from the classroom as punishment, has received significant attention for its negative, cumulative impact on student academic achievement and for its disproportionate use among students of color. In Virginia, 16 of 132 school divisions reported a rate of suspension for Black students three times higher than rates of suspensions for non-Black students. For Black females, 41 school divisions reported similarly disproportionate suspension rates, compared to just 12 divisions for Black males. These disciplinary actions put students at higher risk for negative life outcomes, including involvement in the criminal justice system. The Office of Equity and Community Engagement is keenly focused on mitigating the adverse effects of disproportionate disciplinary practices by leveraging policy, instruction, and leadership.
The Virginia Department of Education’s inaugural Quarterly Research Bulletin focuses on sustainable strategies to reduce out-of-school time due to exclusionary discipline. It explores the question, is diversifying Virginia’s teacher workforce a possible solution and examines the school-level relationship between teachers’ race and rates of exclusionary discipline, particularly among Black students.
Read the full Research Brief here.
In addition, we have compiled the following of resources to support equitable approaches to school discipline
- Virginia’s Model Guidance for Positive, Preventive Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension, is a blueprint for school boards on policies, systems, and practices related to student conduct and school climate. The Model Guidance focuses on equity and establishing prevention and interventions through a tiered system of supports. For further information, contact the Office of Student Services.
- An educator’s action planning guide for Addressing the root causes of disparities in school discipline.
- Guiding principles, recommendations, and resources about school resource officers to create a safe and supportive schools. School Resource Officers (SROs) and Law Enforcement in Schools
- K-12 Resources and Curriculum for School-Law Enforcement Partnership, including the school and law enforcement partnership training curriculum. Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
- Research in Brief: School-Based Law Enforcement (WestEd)
- Lost Opportunities: How Disparate School Discipline Continues to Drive Differences in the Opportunity to Learn (UCLA Civil Right’s Project)
- Building a Foundation for School Discipline Reform: Action Steps for States to Improve the Collection and Use of Data on School Discipline (Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center)
- An Educator’s Guide to Fostering Positive School Climate and Culture Restorative Practices
- In order to better understand the issues of efficacy and fairness in the use of out-of-school suspension, we first must answer two questions: How frequently is suspension being used in our schools? Are there significant differences in the frequency of suspension when we look at subgroups of children by race/ethnicity and gender? This report is designed to help answer these questions Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis
- A 5-Point Intervention Approach for Enhancing Equity in School Discipline
- Key Elements of Policies to Address Discipline Disproportionality: A Guide for District and School Teams
- Neutralizing Implicit Bias in School Discipline
Organizations to follow:
- Center on PBIS
- National Center for Restructuring of Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST)
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Center for Children’s Law and Policy
- Fix School Discipline
- Just Children
- Teaching Tolerance
- The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice Fairness and Equity
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