The Council of State Governments Justice Center released The School Discipline Consensus Report: Strategies from the Field to Keep Students Engaged in School and Out of the Juvenile Justice System. “Research and data on school discipline practices are clear: millions of students are being removed from their classrooms each year, mostly in middle and high schools, and overwhelmingly for minor misconduct. When suspended, these students are at a significantly higher risk of falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and coming into contact with the juvenile justice system. A disproportionately large percentage of disciplined students are youth of color, students with disabilities, and youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).”
The report has four main chapters: conditions for learning, targeted behavioral interventions, school-police partnerships, and courts and juvenile justice. A theme throughout is that if children are removed from the primary, traditional classroom setting, adequate educational opportunities must exist such that the child may continue their educational path.
To address some of these same issues in Indiana, the Commission on Improving the Status of Children has recently established the Educational Outcomes Task Force chaired by Dr. Susan Lockwood, Director of Education with the Indiana Department of Correction. Dr. Lockwood also participated in the Indiana Juvenile Detention Standards Committee, which recommended significant changes to the current standards used by the juvenile detention centers throughout the state. The first meeting of the Educational Outcomes Task Force will likely occur in July 2014.