School Discipline: Dismantle the Pre-K to Prison Pipeline


 Effective school discipline, positive school climate, and eliminating racial bias are critical factors in ensuring equity and excellence for students.

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At A Glance

Suspensions and expulsions often disengage and disconnect students from school, feed students into the juvenile system and criminalize children at increasingly younger ages: instigating a Cradle to Prison Pipeline. Harsh and punitive policies, including zero tolerance and the overuse of suspension and expulsion, can devastate the lives of children. We are committed to educational equity and reform to ensure the highest quality education for all students.

In 2013 and 2014, AASA and The Children’s Defense Fund entered a partnership to explore alternative school district practices and system wide solutions for school leaders to bring back to their districts. This initiative was funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies to support the following school districts:

  • Harrisburg School District (Pa.)
  •  Racine Unified School District (Wis.)
  •  Woodland Hills School District (Pa.)
  •  U-46 School District (Ill.)

In April 2014, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and the Children’s Defense Fund partnered to survey 500 school superintendents to determine the state of district-wide school discipline policies and practices. It examined how and why districts use out-of-school suspension, the revision and parameters of districts’ discipline policies, outside partners districts seek in improving school discipline and efforts underway to create positive school climates to reduce discipline disparities.
Download full survey report here [pdf]. Read a summary of key findings here

 AASA in the News

Resource Library

 View our Resource Library to learn more about our work on School Discipline.

July 2019

 Staff Contact

 Bryan Joffe, Project Director, Education and Youth Development