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School Suspensions and Expulsions: Downloadable Reports and Resources

This guide provides resources on school suspensions and expulsions and provides links to reports, research and professional organizations that work to address concerns about school discipline.

The Equity Line - A Blog by the Education Trust

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The Equity Line is a blog by The Education Trust,  which promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels  — pre-kindergarten through college. Their goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people — especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian — to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.

The Dignity in Schools Campaign

    

"The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) challenges the systemic problem of pushout in our nation's schools and advocates for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. The DSC unites parents, youth, advocates and educators to support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal in our schools.

The DSC started over five years ago when local grassroots and advocacy groups fighting to end school pushout came together to share information and strategies and build a common framework for dignity and human rights in our schools."

CT Judicial Branch Law Libraries

Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut

Southern Poverty Law Center

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides this comprehensive list of alternatives to suspension.

"Alternatives to Suspension There are a number of ways that schools can cut down on suspensions so that students do not miss class time. Here are some options:

  • Conference with the student to provide him/her with corrective feedback.
  • Re-teach behavioral expectations.
  • Mediate conflict between students or students and staff.
  • Create behavior contracts that include expected behaviors, consequences for infractions, and incentives for demonstrating positive behaviors.
  • Student completion of community service tasks.
  • Development of an open communication system between parents/guardians and school officials in order to address issues the student may be facing in a collaborative manner.
  • Reflective activity, such as writing an essay, about the offense and how it affected the student, others, and the school.
  • Loss of a privilege.
  • Adjust the student's class schedule or placement to maximize academic and behavioral improvement.
  • Create a check-in/check-out intervention plan for the at-risk student with a caring adult in the school who tracks the student's behavioral progress and addresses his/her individual needs on a daily basis.
  • Require daily or weekly check-ins with an administrator for a set period of time.
  • Refer student to counselor, social worker, behavior interventionist, or Building Based Student Support Team.
  • Work with the student to choose an appropriate way for him/her to apologize and make amends to those harmed or offended.
  • Arrange for the student to receive services from a counseling, mental health, or mentoring agency.
  • Detention or in-school suspension, during which the student completes his/her work."

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"For years, students in Mobile, Ala., endured school climates in which they were regularly suspended for such minor infractions as tardiness, talking and uniform violations. Over a three-year period, more than 1,700 long-term suspensions—suspensions lasting between 11 days and several months—were doled out.

The problem isn’t isolated in Mobile. Suspensions have been steadily increasing across the nation since the 1970s. According to the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization that tackles inequity with strategies and community alliance, more than 3 million youth are suspended in the United States each year.

In a recent legal settlement with the SPLC, Mobile County Public Schools agreed to make significant changes to its discipline policy for the benefit of the students of the city. These changes will keep more students in school and learning.

Six immediate changes will be implemented:

  • Suspensions will be imposed only for serious infractions.
  • Administrators and staff will get training on suspension and other disciplinary options and techniques.
  • A group of parents, teachers, students and other community members will develop research-based alternatives to suspension.
  • The student code of conduct will be presented in a clear, easy-to-understand format for parents and students.
  • Students will be allowed to have an advocate, either an attorney or a school counselor, in hearings for long-term suspensions.
  • Students who are removed from school will receive homework assignments or makeup work.

These are simple steps that every school can take today to create a climate in which students are supported rather than pushed out. Supportive behavior policies are a win for students, schools and the whole community."