Skip to Main Content

New research evaluates school discipline policies

June 15, 2016 11:31 AM

New research published by Public Policy assistant professor F. Chris Curran examines the impact of state zero tolerance laws on suspension rates, racial gaps in discipline, and student behavior. The article, “Estimating the Effect of State Zero Tolerance Laws on Exclusionary Discipline, Racial Discipline Gaps, and Student Behavior,” is available in the Online First section of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. His work demonstrates that the presence of a state mandatory expulsion law, one that mandates expulsion for offenses such as weapons or assault, is predictive of increased use of exclusionary discipline. Furthermore, the increase is greater for Black and Hispanic students than for White students. For instance, Curran finds the presence of such a state law predicts a three time larger increase in suspensions for Black students as compared to White students.

The research was featured in the "Hit and Run" blog on, and was mentioned in Politico's Morning Education Report under the heading “And on a related note, new school discipline research.”