Discipline in Schools

Overview

Improving student academic and behavior outcomes requires ensuring all students access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions. Schools need to create an environment that ensures all students feel emotional and physically safe. Students are losing important instructional time due to exclusionary discipline. The increasing use of disciplinary sanctions such as in-school and out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, or referrals to law enforcement authorities creates the potential for significant, negative educational and long-term outcomes, and can contribute to what has been termed the “school to prison pipeline.” Studies suggest a correlation between exclusionary discipline policies and practices and an array of serious educational, economic, and social problems, including school avoidance and diminished educational engagement; decreased academic achievement; increased behavior problems; increased likelihood of dropping out; substance abuse; and involvement with juvenile justice systems (Joint Dear Colleague Letter, 2014).

Connecticut School Discipline Collaborative

Overarching Goal: The Connecticut School Discipline Collaborative advises the Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education on strategies for transforming school discipline to reduce the overall and disproportionate use of exclusionary discipline. 

Strategies:

  • Advise the State Department of Education on issues, policies, and practices relating to school discipline.
  • Evaluate and recommend plans for statewide school discipline reform initiatives to the State Board of Education.
  • Review effective practices carried out in Connecticut and other states to increase alternatives to exclusionary discipline and determine the feasibility of carrying out those practices in this state.
  • Develop or identify tools for district and school personnel to implement alternatives to exclusionary discipline.

Membership: Members reflect a diverse range of expertise in the fields of education, public policy, law, youth development and community leadership.   

October 31, 2018

Supporting Students Who Are Expelled

The resources below provide guidance for schools on implementing the state requirements for students who have been expelled.

Go to the "How To" section in the left navigation bar to access additional guidance and resources on school expulsions.

Disparities in School Discipline

Connecticut’s data demonstrated that students of certain racial or ethnic groups tend to be disciplined more than their peers. For example, suspension/expulsion rates for Black and rates for Black females are two to five times that of as their White counterparts. Hispanic males are two to three times that of their White counterparts and although African-American students represent 15% of students in the CRDC, they make up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of those suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. Further, over 50% of students who were involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.

Statistical evidence may indicate that groups of students have been subjected to different treatment or that a school policy or practice may have an adverse bias impact. Black and Hispanic students receive out of school suspensions at a greater rate than White students who are given a less severe sanction. This pattern remains when analyzing sanctions stemming from school policy violations separately.