Shifting Away from Zero-Tolerance? Improving School Discipline Policies…

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U.S. DOE and DOJ Release School Discipline Guidance Package

Goal: Improve school discipline and school climate

Reality: Kids with disabilities, especially minority kids, far more likely to be suspended, expelled, arrested, restrained than non-disabled kids.

Each year, significant numbers of students miss class due to suspensions and expulsions—even for minor infractions of school rules—and students of color and with disabilities are disproportionately impacted.

DOE and DOJ developed a package of guidance information that includes:

The transformed CRDC makes public long hidden data about discipline in schools. Get a good visual summary of all kinds of information about:

  • suspensions
  • expulsions
  • arrests
  • restraint and seclusion
  • student retention
  • and… the disparate rates between disabled and non-disabled kids

  1. My 16-year-old son has learned the system well. Get upset, loose your temper, refuse to work and the County Schools will suspend you for 3 to 10 days, sometimes more if the behavior is outrageous enough. For him and his brother, if they are tired of school, have tests coming up – they will do something on purpose to get suspended to get booted out of school so they have extra time to study or just get a failing grade on the tests. Suspension does NOT work for ADHD children or those with anger management issues – at least not with mine.


    I wrote my comments and lost them before sending. We have experienced much of what Julia mentions. A great school district does not necessarily have a good special needs program–it takes a good Teacher , a good Principal and the backing of the District.. We have all your books but actually the school districts need them and some understanding persons to fight for the Kids in each DISTRICT. ThESE KIDS CAN BE GOOD CITIZENS, MAYBE NOT SELF-SUPPORTING BUT WORKING AND LOVING PEOPLE.
    Suspension does not work in K thru 8! I don’t know about high school. We should not need attorneys to get quality education for special needs kids. thank you for all the help we have gotten thru Wrightslaw.

  3. My child was suspended for 2 days in 2nd grade for disruptive behavior. What did this teach him? That he could be sent home when he works with a parapro we requested him not to work with? How can the school, who knows my child’s & the parapro’s relationship is oil & water providing my child FAPE when they allow this to go on? He has also been restrained & secluded several times that school year as well. What are the schools doing, if anything, about our children who have multiple disabilities?

  4. My disabled son was part of a group of highschoolers making too much noise in the schl library and asked to leave. He decided to stay as he didn’t have 9th period and was waiting for the end of the school day so he hid in the library. When he resurfaced, the librarian gave him a referral for insubordination and the school gave him 5 days detention as soon as he gets off BOCES bus and only time he can go to his locker and get lunch. Also 30 day ban from library. How is this fair and productive and a learning experience?

  5. Unfortunately this is very true for Texas. Project Appleseed has documented this & is working to educate the legislature & the public. Perhaps you may have a project in your state.

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