News and Events: Positive Approaches

Justice Department Pushes New Thinking On Kids And Crime


In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Robert L. Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, discussed priorities for the Office, which include supporting research and programs that promote the safety and wellbeing of the nation’s youth. He spoke about the importance of adopting a trauma-informed approach for treating children exposed to violence and a developmental approach to juvenile justice. He also discussed federal efforts to staunch the “school-to-prison pipeline.”

Beyond 'Zero Tolerance': A Pragmatic Approach to Teen Drug Education and School Discipline

Huffington Post

To ensure health and safety, high schools must have rules that prohibit the use of alcohol or other drugs on campus. Yet the 2011 California Student Survey found that in any 30-day period, almost 12 percent of students in both 9th and 11th grade admit to having used drugs at least once on campus -- that's one out of every eight students. Although there is variability in administrative responses, suspension or expulsion tends to be the norm.

Sharp Drop in Suspensions as Boston Schools Try ‘Restorative’ Approach

Boston Herald

State data show a staggering drop in drug- and violence-related suspensions in Boston schools since the district amended its discipline policies to allow “restorative justice” measures in lieu of suspensions, including written apologies, conferences between offenders and victims, and anger management courses. 

Conference Addresses Alternatives to Racial Profiling, Harsh School Discipline

The Center for Public Integrity

A civil rights initiative called The Advancement Project hosted an unprecedented national conference in Washington, D.C. called “We Can Do Better.” Parts were videotaped, and are now available online. The discussions offer insight that could prove useful for parents, educators and lawmakers concerned about both dropouts and incarceration rates in some communities.

Rethinking Our Approach to School Discipline

The Council of State Governments Justice Center

While more school districts look to move away from zero-tolerance policies of the past, educators continue to feel the pressure to remove disruptive students from the classroom. Yet disciplinary strategies that remove students from school have been shown to increase the likelihood of a host of negative outcomes, including dropping out of school and juvenile delinquency. 

Attorney General Holder, Secretary Duncan Announce Effort to Respond to School-to-Prison Pipeline by Supporting Good Discipline Practices

The United States Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the launch of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, a collaborative project between the Departments of Justice and Education that will address the “school-to-prison pipeline” and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system. The initiative aims to support good discipline practices to foster safe and productive learning environments in every classroom.

Schools Try ‘Restorative Justice’ To Keep Kids From Dropping Out

The Council of State Governments Justice Center

The “conflict-resolution room” at Ypsilanti High School in Michigan is quiet and sparse — just a small couch, some chairs and a plant. For decoration there are a few homemade posters with drawings of shooting stars and signs with slogans like “Together we can!” and “Think before you speak.” It’s where students go when they’re on the verge of being suspended.

How Best Reduce School Suspensions? One St. Paul Teacher Argues the Answer is Not Ignoring Classroom Misbehavior

The Council of State Governments Justice Center

St. Paul Public Schools’ (SPPS) Black suspension rate dropped only two percent from 2010-11 to 2011-12. Black students there still receive nearly 70 percent of all suspensions. SPPS Chief of Staff Michelle Walker told the MSR that Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and “Courageous Conversations” strategies, used to help teachers respond more positively to student behaviors — especially those of Black students — has played a huge role in the decline in suspensions.

City Schools Adopt More Tolerant Discipline Policy

The Council of State Governments Justice Center

The Buffalo school district is going to use more carrots and fewer sticks to get its rule breakers to change their ways. On Tuesday night, the Board of Education unanimously approved a new code of conduct under which students will no longer be suspended for disciplinary problems like truancy, cheating, cutting class, running in the halls, in-school cell phone use, smoking and dress code violations. 

Discriminatory discipline: Feds and Mississippi school district reach agreement on changes

The Center for Public Integrity

A Mississippi school district under scrutiny for excessive punishment of black students has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to enact new disciplinary policies, train school police officers in "bias-free" policing and stop involving officers in minor campus behavioral disputes.