Focus Policy Blog


Addressing School Discipline Disparities

A recent Indiana University publication by The Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative discusses the disparities in school discipline among racial groups. Over the past 40 years, Black males have been disciplined at disproportionately higher rates than any other group. Unfortunately, the disparities have lasting negative effects on the students such as lower academic achievement, higher risk of school dropouts, and increased likelihood of involvement with the juvenile system. The report asserts the following key suggestions for improving school discipline systems and making them equitable:

  • Administrators and policymakers realizing that addressing school discipline problems affects all of schooling
  • Taking preventive steps to prevent school discipline disparity
  • More interventions from educators to resolve school discipline issues, particularly those that are small-scale issues
  • Collecting and using discipline data to drive school decision-making
  • Providing support and funding for alternatives that have been proven to work
  • Aligning discipline policies with education goals

Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School