Education Policy

Ending Harmful Discipline to Create Safer Schools

All students deserve safe and welcoming schools that do not use harmful discipline and school police to punish young people. 

To achieve this, schools must be able to invest in the people and programs that build strong campus 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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Ending the School-to-Prison and School-to-Deportation Pipelines

IDRA works to make sure schools do not push students out of the classroom through school policing and exclusionary discipline, like suspensions, alternative school placements, expulsions and corporal punishment. These approaches do not work. They limit student success, are costly and disproportionately harm Black students, Latino students, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students. Instead of pushing young people out, schools must invest in strategies to pull them in.  

Using Effective Strategies to Create Safe and Welcoming Schools for All Students

Safe and welcoming schools are community-oriented, with families, school staff and students taking a leadership role in shaping educational policy and practice. They are well-staffed with trained counselors, social workers, nurses and other critical personnel.  

IDRA trains and supports families, teachers, students and district leaders, focusing on research-based strategies and programs like restorative practices, culturally sustaining pedagogy and ethnic studies courses. 

Learn more about IDRA’s policy recommendations for Texas.


Changing Policy

Bill Filed: Texas Must Prohibit and Prevent Racial Bullying in Schools – Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus, Texas Legislative Black Caucus and IDRA Call on the Legislature to Protect Students from Identity-based Bullying and Harassment, March 10, 2023

Testimony: Eliminate the Use of Harmful Restraints in Schools – IDRA Testimony for Senate Bill 133, submitted by Paige Duggins-Clay, J.D., to the Texas Senate Committee on Education, March 8, 2023 See video

Testimony: Eliminate Bias and Discrimination Against Black Students – IDRA Public Comment for HB 392, Presented by Dr. Altheria Caldera to the Texas House State Affairs Committee, April 29, 2021

Testimony: HB 3485 Makes Discipline Data More Accessible to Parents and Families – IDRA Testimony for House Bill 3485, Presented by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the House Public Education Committee, April 13, 2021

Testimony: Texas Must End Juvenile Curfew Ordinances to Help Break the School-to-prison Pipeline – IDRA Testimony for HB 561, Submitted by Araceli García to the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, April 12, 2021

Testimony: HB 822 Compromises Equitable Education Opportunities in the Name of School Safety, IDRA Testimony against HB 822, submitted by Chloe Latham Sikes, Ph.D., to the House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues Committee on March 29, 2021

Breaking the School-to-Prison and School-to-Deportation Pipelines – IDRA Texas Legislative Priority Brief

Protecting Children’s Health and Well-Being – IDRA & Partners Urge U.S. Congress to End Criminalization of Students in School, December 2, 2020

IDRA Endorses House Bill to End Corporal Punishment in Schools – Protecting Our Students in Schools Act of 2020, November 2020

IDRA School Policing letter to school district leaders, June 15, 2020

Article: An Overview of School Policing in the South, February 2020 

Joint Testimony by the Educational Justice Coalition: Response to Public Interim Charge 1(f) to the Texas House Public Education Committee, September 30, 2020

Testimony: Implementation Rules for Texas school safety legislation 

Testimony: Use Effective Discipline, Not Zero Tolerance

Testimony: Clearly Define the Role of Law Enforcement in Schools – Officers Should Not Be Called on to Handle School Disciplinary Matters

Testimony: African American Studies Course Will Have a Significant and Positive Impact on Students Across Texas, November 13, 2019

Acting on Research and Data 

What Safe Schools Should Look Like for Every Student – A Guide to Building Safe and Welcoming Schools and Rejecting Policies that Hurt Students, IDRA Issue Brief, by Morgan Craven, J.D., June 16, 2022

Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools

Eradicating the School-to-Prison Pipeline through a Comprehensive Approach to School Equity, by Morgan Craven, Paula Johnson & Terrence Wilson, Arkansas Law Review

Ethnic Studies – IDRA Services: African American Studies; Mexican American Studies; and IDRA Equity Connection – An Online Community of Practice

E-bookSchool Discipline Policy and Practice Resources 

Study: Zero Tolerance Discipline Contributes to Higher Attrition Rates 

Engaging Communities

Joint Letter to Pasco County Superintendent of Schools, Re: Data-Sharing Agreement and School Resource Officer Memorandum of Understanding Between the Pasco County School Board and Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, May 4, 2021

New Coalition Formed to End Pasco County’s Predictive Policing Program – IDRA and Group Applaud the U.S. Department of Education’s Investigation into the Program, April 26, 2021

School Policing Hub with resources for advocates and school leaders 

Joint Letter to Public Education Committee opposing House Bill 759, March 16, 2021

Coalition letter re mental health supports and threat assessments, May 2020

National Coalition: Principles for School Safety, Privacy, and Equity 

Coalition letter to Austin ISD to divest from school policing 

TLEEC police brutality statement 

IDRA EAC-South Assists Virginia Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth

TLEEC Letter Supporting African American Studies Courses 

Communicating Effectively 

Why Some San Antonio Students Want an End to School Policing, Texas Public Radio

Austin Groups Call for Divestment from School Police 

For more resources, see IDRA’s Fair Discipline that Keeps Children in Safe Schools site.