Learning From Student and Stakeholder Voice: School Discipline

Learning From Student and Stakeholder Voice: School Discipline

Only 40 percent of U.S. secondary school students, 59 percent of their parents/guardians, and 50 percent of instructional and non-instructional staff believe that their school's disciplinary policies and practices are fair, a report from YouthTruth finds. Based on a survey of more than a hundred thousand students, parents/guardians, and staff at a hundred and thirty-two schools, the report, Learning From Student and Stakeholder Voice: School Discipline, found no significant differences in perceptions of fairness between high- and low-poverty schools and high- and low-income families but did find differences by race/ethnicity. For instance, only 33 percent of African-American and 34 percent of multiracial students said disciplinary policies and practices were fair, compared with 41 percent of white students, 41 percent of Latinx students, and 50 percent of Asian-American students, while white and multiracial (58 percent) and African-American (60 percent) parents/guardians were less likely than Latinx (68 percent) and Asian-American (76 percent) parents/guardians to say the same. The survey also found that high school students (35 percent) and their families (55 percent) were less likely than middle school students (45 percent) and their families (63 percent) to see their school's policies and practices as fair. Noting that poorly managed school discipline can have serious long- and short-term effects — not only on student learning but also on their lives as adults — the report offers discussion questions designed to help principals, teachers, and school communities learn more about which aspects of discipline practices and policies are truly working and for whom.

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