Eliminating School Discipline Disparities: What We Know and Don’t Know About the Effectiveness of Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion

Research on school discipline disparities has demonstrated three key trends across the country:

  • Black students are more likely than White students to be referred for disciplinary action for subjective infractions such as disruption or defiance compared to objective infractions such as tardiness or truancy.1
  • Black students are more likely than White students to receive harsher consequences for disciplinary infractions, even when committing similar offenses.2
  • Discipline disparities are driven by classroom teachers’ decisions to refer a student for disciplinary action and by school administrators’ decisions in response to those referrals.3 Racial stereotyping can influence these referrals.

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