Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 4

Dear School Leaders, During the 2013-2014 academic year, California schools issued more suspensions than diplomas.1 Among suspended and expelled students, glaring racial disparities are apparent.2 Overwhelming numbers of students who have been suspended or expelled from schools are permanently pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system. Even more troubling, more than two decades of research has shown that suspension and expulsion are not effective methods for preventing unwanted student behavior or improving school safety. Harsh school discipline policies and practices exact extraordinary harm on students and impact communities throughout California. Except for the most serious safety-related offenses, out-of-school suspension amounts to unsound educational policy; it does not benefit students, teachers, schools or communities. The “How School We Can Fix School Discipline” Toolkit was designed to provide tools that every school official and leader - from the teacher to the Superintendent - can use to transform discipline practices from a model that focuses on school removals to one that focuses on keeping students in school and improving student outcomes. Over the past two decades educators have created proven, research-based alternatives to harsh school removal practices. These alternatives not only work for students struggling with behavior, but for all students. Unfortunately, there are still communities where educational leaders know there are successful options but they aren’t putting them in place or are erecting false barriers to avoid these important changes. We hope this Toolkit will help change that. More and more educators and community leaders in California are using proven alternative approaches to managing students’ behavior and improving school climate and seeing real results. In this Toolkit, you will learn about these leaders, their successes, and how to get their help. If you are already working to improve school climate, this edition includes new strategies for addressing racial disproportionality in discipline that persists despite suspension and expulsion reductions, f