Laws & Guidance GENERAL
School Climate and Discipline

photo of President Obama

At the White House Summit on Early Education, Secretaries Burwell and Duncan announced the release of a policy statement on expulsion and suspension practices in early learning settings. Exclusionary discipline practices occur at high rates in early learning settings, and at even higher rates for young boys of color. The effort, part of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative, encourages states, early childhood programs, and families to partner in preventing, reducing, and eventually eliminating the expulsion and suspension of young children from early learning programs. As part of this commitment, Secretary Burwell announced that HHS will dedicate $4 million toward early childhood mental health consultation services to prevent this troubling practice and to help all children thrive in early learning settings.

Early Learning Settings


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ED-DOJ School Discipline Guidance Package
  • Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline
    Guidance letter prepared with our partners at the U.S. Department of Justice describing how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
    download files English [PDF, 587] | En español [PDF, 644K]

  • Guiding Principles [PDF, 1MB] Prólogo de Secretario Arne Duncan En español [PDF, 314K]
    Guidance document which draws from emerging research and best practices to describe three key principles and related action steps that can help guide state- and locally controlled efforts to improve school climate and school discipline.

  • Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources [PDF, 1MB]
    Index of the extensive Federal technical assistance and other resources on school discipline and climate available to schools and districts.

  • Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations
    Document describing an online tool that catalogues the laws and regulations related to school discipline in each of the 50 States, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico states and compares laws across states and jurisdictions. You can access the description of the Compendium here [PDF, 674K], and you can access the tool itself online.

  • Overview of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative [PDF, 266K]
    Outline of recent federal efforts on these issues through the interagency Supportive School Discipline Initiative.


Additional Resources
  • Rethinking School Discipline
    Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Release of the Joint ED-DOJ School Discipline Guidance Package Release, January 8, 2014. The remarks of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the release event are available here.

  • Discipline Data
    For a visual depiction of recent school discipline data gathered by our Office for Civil Rights, please visit: http://ocrdata.ed.gov/Downloads/CRDC-School-Discipline-Snapshot.pdf [PDF, 2.3M].

  • Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
    Frequently Asked Questions document describes the contents of the guidance package, how to get more information and technical assistance about the content of the package, and what the guidance package means for policymakers, district and school leaders, teachers, students, families, and community members. English [PDF, 383K] | En español [PDF, 339K]

  • Post-card/mini-factsheet
    Mini-factsheet provides a brief overview of the contents of the guidance package and how they can be used. English [PDF, 395K] | En español [PDF, 325K]

  • Press release
    English | En español

  • Blog post
    Ensuring Discipline that is Fair and Effective


Sign up for our Supportive School Discipline e-Digest

State policymakers, state and district leaders, school administrators, teachers, students, and community members may sign up to receive the Supportive School Discipline e-Digest. The Supportive School Discipline e-digest addresses school discipline issues that touch not only schools, but communities, courts and law enforcement. Regular contents include news from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice and other partner agencies, salient research summaries, examples of effective field practices, announcements submitted by subscribers, and relevant upcoming events. The SSD e-Digest also highlights resources and the availability of ongoing services, including technical assistance, products, and tools.

Register here.


Related Events

Supportive School Discipline Webinar Series

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), is hosting the Supportive School Discipline (SSD) Webinar Series. The Series is designed to increase awareness and understanding of school disciplinary practices that push youth out of school and many times into the justice system, and provide practical examples of alternative approaches that maintain school safety while ensuring academic engagement and success for all students. In particular, during the first half of 2014, webinars are taking an indepth look at the school discipline guidance package (see below). For more information, to register, and to access archived SSD webinars, go to http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/supportive-school-discipline-webinar-series.

Date Topic Basic Description
January 15, 2014 Overview of the School Discipline Guidance Package Provided an overview of each component of the School Discipline Guidance Package including, the dear colleague letter, Guiding Principles document, Federal Directory of School Climate and Discipline Resources and Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations.
January 29, 2014 Title IV and Title VI Civil Rights Guidance Provided a detailed review of the obligation schools have under the Civil Rights Act to administer discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, and national origin.
February 27, 2014 Guiding Principle #1: Climate and Prevention Provided an in-depth review of Guiding Principle #1 as outlined within the Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline, a key document in the recently released School Discipline Guidance Package. In particular, it walked through each Action Step identified for Principle #1 implementation, including exploring how each are being implemented by an expert panel of practitioners.
March 27, 2014 Guiding Principle #2: Clear, Appropriate, and Consistent Expectations and Consequences Will provide an in-depth review of Guiding Principle #2 as outlined within the Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline, a key document in the recently released School Discipline Guidance Package. In particular, it will walk through each Action Step identified for Principle #2 implementation, including exploring how each are being implemented by an expert panel of practitioners.
April 29, 2014 Guiding Principle #3: Fairness and Equity Will provide an in-depth review of Guiding Principle #3 as outlined within the Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline, a key document in the recently released School Discipline Guidance Package. In particular, it will walk through each Action Step identified for Principle #3 implementation, including exploring how each are being implemented by an expert panel of practitioners.
June 11, 2014 School Discipline Laws and Regulations Will review the content of the compendium, discuss latest trends in policymaking related to school discipline, and feature a practitioner who is implementing a new policy.

 
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Last Modified: 12/16/2014