The Council of States Government (CSG) Justice Center announced that the first meeting of the CGS Justice Center’s School Discipline Project was held earlier this week with promising results. According to CSG, over 100 individuals from various education, law-enforcement and mental health agencies, as well representatives of communities throughout America came together to “work on consensus-based recommendations for approaches to school discipline that keep kids in school and out of the juvenile justice system while providing a safe, positive learning environment.”
The group’s focus was on dismantling the so-called “school-to-prison” pipeline, a term used to describe the process in which school children are criminalized by school disciplinary policies for infractions that would not be considered a crime outside of school. The rush to arrest school children has led to an outcry after studies have shown that children caught up in the criminal justice system usually face barriers to success later in life. Education is often disrupted by suspensions or incarceration. Last year Reentry Central posted a report on the problem that was used as an impetus for the School Discipline Project’s meeting. The report, Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement is included in the Library section of Reentry Central, and can also be accessed by clicking on the link at the end of this article.
In a press release issued on October 10, CSG stated “The multidisciplinary advisory groups that met for two days in Washington, D.C., will develop smaller working teams and gather in both face-to-face and virtual meetings over the next 12 months, where they will be joined by other experts and stakeholders, including youth and families, as the project progresses. The advisory groups will identify key issues and draw on research, promising practices from across the country, and the expertise and experience of individuals affected by school disciplinary measures to reach agreement on recommended policies and practices.”