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ERIC Number: EJ866738
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
Pushed Out
Brownstein, Rhonda
Teaching Tolerance, n36 p58-61 Fall 2009
Significant numbers of students are being pushed out of school as a result of "zero tolerance" school discipline policies. While nobody questions the need to keep schools safe, teachers, students, and parents are questioning the methods being used in pursuit of that goal. Initially enacted to counter violent behavior and drug use, zero tolerance school disciplinary policies have expanded to cover more minor misbehavior. As a result, the U.S. has experienced dramatic increases in the number of students suspended, expelled and referred to law enforcement for school-based incidents. These practices are paving the way for higher dropout rates and involvement in the criminal justice system, a pathway often referred to as the "school-to-prison pipeline." Likewise, these practices have been shown to worsen the climates of the schools, leading to teacher burnout. More than 9,000 schools across the country are trying to curb the pushout problem by implementing Positive Behavior Supports (PBS), an evidence-based, data-driven approach proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school's sense of safety, improve attendance rates and support improved academic outcomes. PBS is just part of the solution to the pushout problem. School administrators need alternatives to exclusionary school discipline practices, such as "behavior contracts," community service, after-school detention, loss of a privilege, in-school suspension, and a "Check & Connect" program. Fixing school discipline is not an impossible task. The first step, for teachers and administrators, is to recognize their own power. Working together, teachers, administrators and parents can create safe and orderly classrooms where class time is spent on instruction, not wasted on ineffective discipline.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A