Education Policy

Fair Discipline that Keeps Children in Safe Schools

IDRA Policy Issues 

IDRA Stands

  • Ensure school safety and foster positive school climates by providing critical funds and supporting research-based programs and school-based professionals, like counselors and social workers.
  • Eliminate harmful, unnecessary exclusionary discipline and policing practices inside schools.
  • Make sure the same high-quality curriculum is available in all schools to all students, including those removed from their regular classrooms.


In Texas, students of color, boys, and students with disabilities are much more likely than their peers to be punished in school and have interactions with school police. In 2017-18, Black Texas students were suspended over four times more than their White classmates, even though Black students are not more likely to misbehave.

Pushing students out of the classroom results in missed learning time and an increased likelihood of justice system involvement. Punitive discipline practices also compromise student success and campus safety. To improve student outcomes and make schools safer, the state must ensure access to research-based school climate programs, provide training opportunities for educators and other school personnel, and increase the number of school-based counseling and mental health professionals.


Four Texas organizations — Texas Appleseed, IDRA, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition & Texans Care for Children — sent a letter to Gov. Abbott today urging him to address the needs of incarcerated and detained youth during the coronavirus pandemic. March 19, 2020

Unfair School Discipline – Discipline Practices in Texas Push Students Away from School – Web Story

eBook: Resources on Student Discipline Policy and Practice, Third edition, 2020

Testimony: Use Effective Discipline, Not Zero Tolerance – IDRA Testimony Against SB2432, April 30, 2019

Testimony: Clearly Define the Role of Law Enforcement in Schools – Officers Should Not Be Called on to Handle School Disciplinary Matters, IDRA Testimony on SB1 707, March 26, 2019

Joint Statement: Legislative Solutions for Safe Schools Must Include School-Based Strategies that Help Educators and Support Students

IDRA’s School Discipline Research website

Study: Zero Tolerance Policies Push Students Away

Data Story: Zero Tolerance Policies in Texas Push Black Students and Hispanic Students Away from School

Data Story: School Policies and Practices Impact High School Attrition Rates in Bexar County

Article: Partnerships, Not Push Outs – Collaboration is Critical to Dealing with Disparities

Article: In-Grade Retention in the Early Years – What’s Holding Children Back?

Policy Update: Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs in Texas – A 2009 Update

National Clearinghouse on Supportive School Discipline