Bringing Positive Discipline to Schools

Secondary schools suspend or expel two million students each year, mostly for non-violent offenses such as disruption, disrespect, tardiness and dress code violations. Students who are suspended and expelled are more likely to be held back a grade, drop out and become involved with the juvenile justice system.

With leadership from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, AIR has played a key role in developing and disseminating components of the recently released school discipline guidance package. The guidance package includes a Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources that indexes federal technical assistance and other school resources and a Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations that categorizes state laws and regulation.

“The guidance package clearly outlines school and district obligations and provides supports to improve discipline policies and practices,” said AIR’s Sandra Williamson, director of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. “State and local school officials have told me the guidance is extremely helpful because it provides clear information for use when making policy decisions and quick access to state policies and federal resources.”

The guidance package also provides resources to boost student academic success and close the achievement gap—and for the first time, federal guidance is offered on addressing discrimination in school discipline.

AIR provides ongoing support to ED and DOJ, including developing and disseminating a monthly newsletter—the Supportive School Discipline e-Digest—and coordinating a Supportive School Discipline Webinar Series to share approaches to keep students in school and disciplinary practices that maintain safety while supporting academic engagement and success. AIR is also facilitating the Supportive School Discipline Communities of Practice, a network of education and justice systems leaders working to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline and promote graduation rates.