This Compendium is designed to help state and local policymakers, as well as school-level personnel and other education stakeholders, better understand the current school discipline practices in our country. It provides information on school discipline laws and administrative regulations for each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands effective as of March 2015. (See Notes & Disclaimers below.)
For each of the states or jurisdictions, discipline related laws and regulations are categorized by the type of specific discipline issue they address. Resources from government-sponsored websites and other sources are also included for each jurisdiction where available.
Information is presented in two formats:
- School discipline laws and regulations compiled by category
- School discipline laws and regulations compiled by state or jurisdiction
Users may also download the full Discipline Laws and Regulations Compendium (PDF).
Discipline laws and regulations were identified through a variety of sources. LexisNexis and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Education Bill Tracking Database were used to conduct keyword searches on topics relevant to school discipline and to guide researchers. State government websites were also reviewed to identify new or amended laws. Administrative regulations were identified both through LexisNexis searches and scans of state Departments of Education (DOE) websites. Additional resources for each state or jurisdiction were identified through state DOE website searches, as well as general internet searches using keywords such as "model school discipline policy" or "school discipline manuals."
The following resources were also consulted to corroborate or supplement the information that had been collected:
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Policies and Laws. StopBullying.gov. Retrieved March 2015 from http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws.
- U.S. Department of Education. (2012). Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document. Washington, D.C. Retrieved July 2013 from: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-issues-resource-document-discourages-restraint-and-seclu.
- LegiScan. (n.d.) Retrieved March 2015 from: http://legiscan.com
- Stop Hazing. (n.d.) States with Anti-Hazing Laws. Retrieved March 2015 from: http://www.stophazing.org/laws/states-with-anti-hazing-laws/
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. (n.d.) Retrieved March 2015 from: http://smartgunlaws.org/category/state-guns-in-schools
Sources for each state or jurisdiction are cited in detail in each comprehensive state report.
To ensure the accuracy of the information collected, state education agency (SEA) representatives for each jurisdiction were asked to review their compilations and provide corrections and/or additions, as appropriate. Corrections and updates may be submitted at any time to SchoolDisciplineCompendium@air.org
To the best of the preparer’s knowledge, this Compendium of school discipline laws and regulations is complete and current through March 2015. Current plans include an annual update of the Compendium.
The scope of this Compendium covers state-level school discipline laws and regulations related to student conduct at public schools. The Compendium does not cover state laws and regulations governing the extent to which the school discipline laws may, or may not, apply to charter schools and private schools in particular states. The Compendium also does not cover laws related to conduct of teachers, administrators, or other staff in the school context.
While this Compendium focuses only on laws and regulations governing states, territories, and the District of Columbia, federal laws may also apply to particular school discipline contexts.1 In addition, in some cases additional state laws or policies may also apply to particular discipline contexts. For example, this Compendium does not focus on state level protections for students with disabilities, unless it is a part of general school discipline policy. Additionally, although links to government-sponsored websites and resources are identified and included in the state profiles, the categorized information covers only the content of state laws and regulations, and many states address other facets of school discipline policy through training, resource dissemination, or other mechanisms. Readers should note that the information in this Compendium was compiled from individual sources that are maintained and formatted differently by each state or jurisdiction and that are maintained and updated with varying frequency. For more information consult the sources directly. In addition, as they consider this topic, readers may find it useful to consult state Attorney General opinions for a particular state or jurisdiction.
1 For example, the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains specific provisions regarding the discipline of students with disabilities who are or may be eligible for services under the IDEA. See, e.g., 20 U.S.C. §1415(k); 34 C.F.R. § 300.530(e)-(g); and IDEA Discipline Regulations: http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CTopicalBrief%2C6%2C. In addition, when administering school discipline policies schools are also responsible for complying with other applicable Federal laws including, but not limited to, Federal civil rights and privacy laws. See, e.g., Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000c et seq.); Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits discrimination on the bases of race, color, or national origin (42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d et seq.) ; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, which prohibits sex discrimination (20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq.); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.), which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protect the privacy of student education records (20 U.S.C. § 1232g).
Bezinque, A., Meldrum, J., Darling-Churchill, K., Stuart-Cassel, V. (2015). Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations for the 50 States, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Territories. National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. Available at: http://safesupportivelearning.ed.gov/school-discipline-compendium.