Many students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and special education students are disproportionately disciplined in Washington’s schools. These students are more likely to be suspended or expelled when compared to white or Asian students, wealthier students, and students without special needs.
Zero tolerance policies taken too far have exacerbated this problem, with students being expelled for reasons ranging from playing with chicken nuggets to leaving their tools from their after school job in their car.
When students are removed from class they are more likely to fall academically behind their peers, repeat grades, and drop out. The likelihood of a student dropping out of school increases with truancy, suspensions, expulsions, behavioral problems, course failure, and repeating grades.
LEV has been at the forefront on this issue, guiding the conversation and working with partners to keep kids in school so that they have the opportunity to learn.
School Discipline: Understanding the Terms
Parents and students are frequently confused by the different terms for exclusionary student discipline
used in schools. The terms suspensions and expulsions are the most frequently confused. Here is a quick
dictionary of commonly used terms:
Short-term suspension: A student is excluded from school for ten school days or less.
Long-term suspension: A student is excluded from school for a definite period of time that lasts more than 10 school days in a row.
Expulsion: A student is excluded from the school or school district for an undefined period of time or permanently depending on the type of disciplinary infraction. An expulsion can also include a denial of admission to or entry onto property owned, leased, rented, or controlled by a school district.
Emergency expulsion: An immediate removal of a student from school for an indefinite period of time.
Transforming School Discipline: 2013 Legislation (October 2013)
Alternative Approaches to School Discipline (May 2013)
Discipline in Public Schools. Office of the Education Ombudsman (January 2013)
Reclaiming Students: The Educational and Economic Costs of Exclusionary Discipline in Washington State. Washington Appleseed (November 2012)
Learn about the school discipline revolution happening in Walla Walla, Washington.
Listen to LEV 2011-2012 podcast series on discipline.
Stopping Out-of-School Suspensions: A Guide for State Policy. Opportunity to Learn. (December 2012)