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Education Policy

Creating Safe and Welcoming Pathways for All Students in Georgia

black boy in blue shirt with backpackAll students deserve safe and welcoming schools that do not use harmful discipline and school police to punish young people.

Schools must be able to invest in the people and programs that build strong school climates and foster the relationships that keep everyone safe.


Learn more about IDRA’s work to build safe and welcoming schools for all students below.

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Georgia schools use suspensions, corporal punishment, alternative school placements, expulsions and police officers to punish students. When schools rely on these harmful methods, they put students at a higher risk of repeating a grade, dropping out of school, and having contact with the juvenile and adult criminal justice and immigration systems – a process known as the “school-to-prison pipeline” or “school-to-deportation pipeline.”

In Georgia, Black students are significantly overrepresented in every category of discipline. According to CRDC data, Black students have the highest rates of discipline when compared to their peers. As the charts below illustrate, Black students’ rates of out-of-school suspension, expulsion, and school-related arrest rates are often two to three times higher than other groups.

Georgia is also one of the few states in the United States that allows teachers and administrators to paddle, spank, slap and hit students for disciplinary purposes, despite research showing the harms and ineffectiveness of this violent approach (Losen, et al., 2019).


See IDRA’s interactive data dashboard


Policy Recommendations for Georgia

To create safe and welcoming pathways for all students, Georgia education leaders should:

  • Eliminate harmful, unnecessary exclusionary discipline practices inside schools for all students.
  • Prohibit corporal punishment of all kids in schools.
  • End the regular presence of police inside schools, while also collecting and publishing comprehensive disaggregated policing data from schools that have a continued police presence.
  • Ensure school safety and foster positive school climates by providing critical funds for school-based professionals, like counselors and social workers while expanding implementation of safer research-based programs such as restorative practices and social-emotional learning programs.

For more information, contact Terrence Wilson, J.D., IDRA Regional Policy and Community Engagement Director (terrence.wilson@idra.org).


Resources

Losen, D., Whitaker, A., Kizzire, J., Savitsky, Z., & Dunn, K. (2019). The Striking Outlier: The Persistent, Painful and Problematic Practice of Corporal Punishment in School. Southern Poverty Law Center & Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

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