Beyond Suspension Decline:
Transforming School Discipline

What can we learn from California’s efforts to move away from school discipline policy? Find full reports and policy and practice briefs from a five-year, statewide study of a wide range of approaches to change discipline in California schools.

Learn more about the research design

School climate, culture, and safety are a perennial concern for all stakeholders in schools - including parents, students, teachers, counselors, and school leaders.

It can run the gamut from invigorating to toxic and impact academic and social outcomes for young people.

More importantly, school climate, culture, and school discipline teaches young people what to expect from society and their place in it.

Key Takeaways
Even as schools implement discipline alternatives such as restorative justice and positive behavioral interventions in schools (PBIS), punitive and exclusionary discipline, such as in-school suspension rooms, removal to alternative education sites, and policing in schools co-exist. Read about how this impacts students.

Suspension numbers are declining but racial disproportionality in school experience persists. Read about how and why reducing suspensions does not necessarily result in reducing disproportionality

Existing school and district organizational structures and practices either support or constrain efforts to move away from punitive school discipline. Read about critical institutional changes to support shifts in school discipline policy.

Alternative programs and approaches, like PBIS and restorative justice, differ in their vision for education and how change occurs. Read about how to implement alternatives to punitive school discipline policy and practice.

Educational equity must be a part of a larger movement for racial and economic justice, not a substitute for it. Read about how social justice in schools can connect to social justice in society.

Considerable evidence demonstrates that policing in schools has harmful effects on students despite administrator and teacher perceptions to the contrary. Read about policing in schools.
A core funder of these efforts in California played a role in bringing together disparate interests, changing policies, and creating new markets of alternative discipline approaches. Read about what was gained and lost in the funding process.

We are a group of interdisciplinary researchers and educators representing a multitude of identities who spent five years listening to and observing school communities in their efforts to move away from punitive and exclusionary school discipline.

About Us ︎︎︎

We believe in the creativity of individuals and collectives committed to a transformative and liberatory education.

Our research shows there are no easy answers. We offer the research and tools on this website to further our collective efforts.

Our Tools ︎︎︎