Michigan parents, youth, advocates and agencies are calling for more sensible school discipline policies that will truly promote academic achievement, lifelong learning and safe schools. We hope you will endorse our Solutions Not Suspensions Pledge for so many reasons:

1) Michigan schools suspend and expel students at high rates. Michigan ranks 5th in the country for highest rates of student suspensions, with students of color, students with disabilities, and students in foster care being suspended at significantly higher rates.

2) Alternative solutions work. Research has shown that the most effective approaches to decreasing school violence are social skills training, academic restructuring, and behavioral interventions. Moreover, it has been shown that implementing positive, evidence-based school discipline practices, such as School-wide Positive Behavior Support and Restorative Justice, increases academic success and decreases office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions.

3) Punishment doesn’t work. Research has shown that punishing problem behavior is associated with increases in aggression, vandalism, truancy, and dropping out, as well as lower school achievement scores.

4) Punishment makes communities more dangerous. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that students with out-of-school suspensions and expulsions are more likely to commit crimes and become involved in violent activities.

5) Every dropout costs society an estimated $250,000 over the student’s lifetime in lost income. Research shows that students who are expelled are more likely to drop out of school and/or get arrested. The cost to society of students dropping out of school is significant, especially in Michigan where 26% of all students are not graduating. This rate is even higher for students of color, where 43% of African American students, 37% of Latino students, and 38% of American Indian students are not graduating.

6) Informal guidance is ineffective. Michigan law does not currently require schools to work to reduce suspensions and expulsions and informal guidance by the State Board of Education, while a step in the right direction, has been largely ignored.

Thus, we ask you to endorse the following statement calling for an end to non-mandatory school expulsions in the state of Michigan. Please add your names, individual and/or organization, as supporting the All Kids in School Coalition and join us as we explore together ways to establish a strong voice for excellent and caring public education for all children.  

Also, We are urging community members to write to their state representative. ACLU of Michigan has generously drafted a letter template you can use. House STPP Letter Template. For more information, see STPP Fact sheet-bullets.

References:

American's Promise Alliance. (2009). Grad Nation: A guidebook to help communities tackle the dropout problem. Retrieved from http://www.americaspromise.org/~/media/Files/Our%20Work/Dropout%20Prevention/Grad%20Nation%20Guidebook%20052809.ashx

Boost Up. (2011). Rate not graduating. Retrieved from: http://www.boostup.org/en

Dignity in Schools Campaign (2011). Whose getting pushed out--fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.dignityinschools.org/document/whos-getting-pushed-out-fact-sheet

Horner, R., Sugai, G., & Dickey, C. R. School-wide positive behavior support. Retrieved from http://www.pbis.org/common/pbisresources/presentations/1008rhMiddleSchoolPBSOrientationSanJose.ppt.

Kathleen, M. (2012, April 7). Expelled Students More Likely to Drop Out, Get Arrested. The Hartford Currant. Retrieved from http://articles.courant.com/2012-04-07/news/hc-student-expulsion-0408-20120406_1_expulsion-hannah-benton-students.

Losen, D. J. (2011). Discipline policies, successful schools, and racial justice. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from: http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/school-discipline/discipline-policies-successful-schools-and-racial-justice/NEPC-SchoolDiscipline-Losen-1-PB_FINAL.pdf

Murray, D. (2012, August 7). Report: Black students suspended at higher rate than white students, Michigan's disparity among the highest. MLive.com. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/08/report_black_students_suspende.html.