(Arlington, VA, Tuesday, April 30, 2019) – Nearly 3 million U.S. students are suspended from their schools every year – with approximately half suspended more than once. One result of this discipline is the loss of an estimated 18 million days of instruction annually. Why are these numbers so high?
In the early 90’s, schools began adopting zero tolerance policies in an attempt to keep students and teachers safe from serious student misconduct, such as violent behaviors and weapons in school. However, while these more serious forms of misconduct have declined, zero tolerance policies have expanded.
These policies now address a wider-range of misconduct, including vandalism, insubordination, and even dress code violations. This expansion is driving a significant increase in suspensions. More importantly, this increase is disproportionately impacting minority and special education students. From pre-school through high school, these students are consistently suspended at a greater rate than their peers.
In 2017-18, Communities In Schools operated in 25 states and the District of Columbia, and served 1.6 million students in 2,500 schools and 370 school districts across the country. There are 135 organizations in the CIS Network, including state offices, and licensed partners.
In states where discipline or a school-related climate indicator is a focus under ESSA, more than half have a strong partner available to help them successfully address this focus. The presence of Communities In Schools in these states has directly contributed to their capacity to more effectively address discipline and school climate issues.