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SBE adopts resolution to raise awareness of school discipline concerns

OLYMPIA — The State Board of Education (SBE) voted to adopt a discipline resolution at the March board meeting, affirming its commitment to improving school discipline practices in Washington.

The board pledges to collaborate with districts and communities to promote best practices, and explore incorporation of a discipline indicator in the Statewide Indicators of Educational System Health framework.

“We know that discipline practices affect students’ access to education and, ultimately, their success,” said Board Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer. “The data on student discipline indicates that certain student groups are being disciplined and excluded from the classroom at higher rates than other groups of students. We are concerned about the potential contribution of this disparity in discipline rates to the opportunity gap.’”

Being removed from the educational environment through in-school suspension, out of-school suspension, expulsion, or other discipline practices has been found to negatively impact a student’s academic success.

Schools in Washington state disciplined more than 59,000 students in the 2012-13 school year. In Washington state students of color, low-income students, and special education students are suspended and expelled at higher rates.

In January, the U.S. Department of Education and Justice Department issued school discipline guidance that draws on emerging research and best practices to help guide state and local efforts to improve school climate and discipline policies with the goal of reducing disproportionality in discipline practices.

The board encourages districts to collect and examine local discipline data and policies to look for concerning patterns in discipline practices and for policies that may benefit from revision in light of the new federal guidance.

The board recognizes that efforts are already underway in many districts to improve discipline policies and practices.

 

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