Decriminalizing School Misbehavior: Alternatives to School Referrals and Arrests

This report examines both the progress made in recent years to reduce the use of suspensions in U.S. schools, and also the unfortunate lack of improvement in the use of school referrals and arrests. Like suspensions and expulsions, the harmful impact of student referrals and arrests cannot be overstated. Referrals and arrests disrupt educational attainment, sow feelings of distrust and alienation, and tend to be unevenly applied to students of color. Rather than criminalize and remove them from the community, students deserve school discipline policies that support them in their school environments, improve public safety, and reduce systemic disparities.

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