ERIC Number: ED177731
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Discipline, Discrimination, Disproportionality and Discretion. A Legal Memorandum.
Goldsmith, Arthur H.
The dilemma of disciplinary discretion is that on the one hand it avoids discrimination by allowing individualized treatment, but on the other hand it invites discrimination by leaving it up to the adiministrator to determine what discipline shall be imposed for what offense. The law imposes very few and easily met restraints. To ensure that discipline is nondiscriminatory, the principal should attempt the following: (1) make all disciplinary rules as clear and precise as possible, avoiding distinctions based on race, sex, or physical handicap; (2) make sure, if a rule seems to have a disproportionate negative effect on students of one race or sex, or on another group that might claim discrimination, that the rule has a legitimate educational purpose and that the disproportionate impact has a demonstrable, nondiscriminatory cause; (3) make sure that fair rules are being administered in a fair manner (there is nothing wrong with the use of administrative discretion if it is exercised in a rational, consistent way free of bias); (4) enact disciplinary penalties that are not only permissible under state law, but also appropriate in severity to the rule violation involved; and (5) demonstrate concern about any policy that has a disproportionate negative effect on any legally protected group. (Author/IRT)
Descriptors: Black Students, Court Litigation, Discipline, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Protection, Federal Legislation, Handicapped Students, Punishment, Students
National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091 ($0.50; quantity discounts)
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Secondary School Principals, Reston, VA.