Evaluating "Ban and Replace" Policies for Reduction of Racial Disparities in School Discipline

Principal Investigators
University of Maryland
Funded on

Most states in the US allow the use of exclusionary discipline for pre-k and primary school students, despite concerns about the effectiveness and fairness of these strategies. Long-standing disparities in its application exist, in the form of exclusion of African-American children, particularly boys, who are suspended at many times the rates of other children. Because of these disparities, suspensions, expulsions, and other forms of exclusionary discipline may weaken otherwise effective programs to reduce racial achievement gaps.     

In collaboration with the HighScope Educational Research Foundation the project will a) examine  national and state data to document the extent of racial disparities; b) summarize published studies of  effective programs c) conduct case studies of exemplary school districts that have banned exclusionary discipline and reduced disparities; and d) provide technical assistance to school districts seeking to replace suspension and expulsion with an effective disciplinary alternative. 

This project will also evaluate the extent and impact of exclusionary discipline in primary schools, asking:   

  1. How prevalent are "Ban and Replace" policies in the US and how are they implemented?  

  1. Do "Ban and Replace" policies result in lowering reliance on exclusionary discipline practices and a reduction of racial inequalities in school discipline? 

  1. How prevalent are the use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Restorative Practices, Socio-emotional Learning, or diversion programs, and is their use associated with reductions in disparities? 

  1. Can information dissemination and technical assistance improve school adoption and teacher acceptance of bans on suspensions and expulsions? 

This research will generate key evidence needed to understand the effects of exclusionary discipline on equitable access to education and potential alternative strategies that address or prevent the behavioral and emotional difficulties that have given rise to exclusion.