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Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How Student Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement. Michael Thompson Director. May 23, 2011 Washington, DC. National non-profit, non-partisan membership association of state government officials

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Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How Student Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement

Michael ThompsonDirector

May 23, 2011

Washington, DC


National non-profit, non-partisan membership association of state government officials

  • Represents all three branches of state government
  • Provides practical, nonpartisan advice informed by the best available evidence

How many children are suspended, expelled, or removed from school for other disciplinary reasons, and to what extent are these decisions mandated by state law?

  • Do the disciplinary decisions disproportionately impact students of a particular race and gender?
  • Are children with particular disabilities more prone to school disciplinary action?
  • How does removal from the classroom help predict academic success and the likelihood of staying in school on grade level?
  • How do school disciplinary decisions affect a student’s likelihood of juvenile justice involvement?
  • How does the use of disciplinary actions vary among schools?
why study in texas
Why Study in Texas?

Bipartisan support from key officials

Excellent information systems in TEA and access to data protocols with ERCs

Data in PEIMS and AEIS capturing the size and diversity of the state to provide an excellent case study

Partnership for quantitative research


One in 10 students in US educated in TX; student body is nearly two-thirds non-white

overview of the study
Overview of the Study

Tracking close to 930,000 students for seven years

Tracking all students in seventh grade statewide in Texas instead of using small samples

Matching data across systems to determine involvement in juvenile justice system

Conducting multivariate analysis that allows for controlling of many factors

What the study is not covering:

The role of local law enforcement in schools

Issues related to truancy

Development of specific policy recommendations for Texas

The use of Class C misdemeanor ticketing to address school related offenses

issue areas
Issue Areas
  • Exposure to school discipline system
  • Impact on students of color
  • Impact on students with disabilities
  • Relationship between discipline and academic performance
  • Relationship between discipline and juvenile justice involvement
  • Variation among individual schools
questions from state and local officials
Questions from State and Local Officials
  • How is (and how should) discipline data be collected/tracked in my jurisdiction?
  • What promising policies, programs, and practices are being employed across the country?
  • What strategies do professionals on the front lines of the education and juvenile justice systems, as well as policymakers and advocates, agree would improve outcomes for students who misbehave in school?
  • What policies, programs, and practices does the research demonstrate effectively improve school environments and reduce use of suspension and expulsion?
federal leadership
Federal Leadership
  • Focus attention on the issue
  • Commission research
  • Highlight innovations
  • Define the common ground
thank you
Thank You


Michael Thompson


The presentation was developed by members of the Council of State Governments Justice Center staff. Because presentations are not subject to the same rigorous review process as other printed materials, the statements made reflect the views of the authors, and should not be considered the official position of the Justice Center, the members of the Council of State Governments, or the funding agency supporting the work.