The School-to-Prison Pipeline is Slowing in Texas


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School suspensions are usually thought of as the last resort punishment for severe disruptions in the classroom. But did you know that children as young as three years old are being sent home for behavior problems which could have been addressed with positive school supports?

In June of 2017, Texas House Bill 674 was passed which prohibits so called “discretionary suspensions” in Pre-K through 2nd grade children. These types of suspensions create a zero tolerance policy which studies have shown lead to higher rates of school dropout, lower academic performance, and decreased academic performance. This effect is widely known as the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”. Reasons for discretionary suspensions include horseplay, dress code violation, and violation of classroom rules.  This law will instead help teachers identify supports can be provided to positively influence behaviors which have in the past lead to a suspension.

Black and Latino males are disproportionately affected by these zero tolerance suspension policies, as are students with disabilities. An analysis of 19 school districts surrounding San Antonio, Texas showed that 15% of black students were suspended in the 2011-12 school year as compared to 10% of Latino students. Only 5% of white students were suspended in the same time period. Austin, Texas reports that of 351 pre-k through 2nd graders, 85% of kids suspended were black or Latino.

Read more about creating positive school supports and discipline in schools.  

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