NASBE has partnered with six states (GA, MD , MI, OR, VA, WV) and the District of Columbia to promote positive school climate and supportive discipline.  Many of our partners are implementing school safety task forces, collecting disaggregated discipline data, and developing model policies to improve practices at the local systems-level.

School discipline is often overlooked as a critical component for academic success. However, the 2012 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and the landmark Breaking Schools’ Rules report published by the Council of State Governments have uncovered the following statistics about school discipline and climate:

  • 60% of middle and high school students have been suspended at least once
  • 75% of students with particular educational disabilities were suspended or expelled at least once
  • 59% of black male students and 42% of Hispanic male students reported that they had been suspended or expelled in the past compared to 26% of white male students
  • One suspension in the 9th grade increases the risk of dropping out of high school and each additional suspension increases that risk by 20%
  • Those who have been suspended or expelled have a higher chance of being involved with the juvenile justice center the following year

In light of this research, the US Department of Education and the US Department of Justice launched the Supportive School Discipline Initiative and the Rethink Discipline Campaign (#RethinkDiscipline) to encourage educators and policymakers to question the value of exclusionary and punitive disciplinary policies. In 2014, they released a federal school climate and discipline guidance package to help public schools:

  1. Reform school discipline procedures
  2. Reduce disparities in discipline for minorities and students with disabilities
  3. Meet federal obligations under the Civil Rights Act.

State Boards of Education have unique opportunities to promote a safe and supportive learning environment for every student. NASBE’s work in this area focuses on strengthening the capacity of state boards of education to promote effective alternatives to exclusionary discipline, oversee implementation of policies that improve school climate, and reduce the number of students referred to law enforcement and juvenile justice systems.


Map of the United States - School Discipline Authority
Map of United States - School Discipline Data