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The Continuing Need To #RethinkDiscipline - White House Report

  • Published: 2016-12-09 (Revised/Updated 2017-01-23) : The White House (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20500, 202-456-1111).
  • Synopsis: Rethink Discipline initiative aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools.

Main Document

Quote: "The application of exclusionary discipline practices is especially significant for students of color and students with disabilities, who, in general, are disciplined more often than their classmates."

Today, the White House released a new capstone report with updates about projects launched and local progress made in response to the Administration's Rethink Discipline efforts. Rethink Discipline was launched as part of President Barack Obama's My Brothers' Keeper initiative and aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools.

Related: Calling for End to Corporal Punishment in Schools - U.S. Education Secretary sends letter urging state leaders to end use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short-term and long-term outcomes for students - U.S. Department of Education

The White House will also convene stakeholders and leaders to discuss the progress made and the work ahead to encourage and support local leaders as they work to implement supportive school discipline practices.

Today's meeting in the Roosevelt Room will include remarks by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force Broderick Johnson, Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz and Secretary of Education John King.

As noted in a joint Department of Education and Department Health and Human Services Policy Statement, suspension and expulsion can contribute to a number of adverse outcomes for childhood development in areas such as personal health, interactions with the criminal justice system, and education.

The 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection reveals that out-of-school suspensions decreased by nearly 20 percent compared to the 2011-12 school year. However, 2.8 million students received out-of-school suspensions in the 2013-14 school year, representing approximately 6% of all students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools.

The application of exclusionary discipline practices is especially significant for students of color and students with disabilities, who, in general, are disciplined more often than their classmates. As stated in the Department of Education's First Look brief about 2013-14 CRDC data, in preschool, black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white children. In K-12, black students are 3.8 times more likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions compared to white students. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities.

Addressing these disparities and rethinking discipline have remained top priorities of the Administration, which has focused attention on the importance of school disciplinary approaches that foster safe, supportive, and productive learning environments in which students can thrive.

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