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Maryland is committed to keeping more children in the classroom by reducing the number and disproportionality of suspensions and expulsions. New proposed state regulations require new processes for discipline and provide an opportunity for schools to implement in-school alternatives to suspension and expulsion. These alternatives can help teachers, administrators,
and students maintain positive behaviors and successful schools.

The Problem:
Zero tolerance policies with severe consequences have resulted in high numbers of students—particularly students of color and students with disabilities — being suspended, expelled and even arrested for often minor offenses that were once handled in school. As a result, these students are spending less time in school and are more likely to dropout, experience
unemployment and become involved with the juvenile justice system.

One Approach:
Committed to keeping youth in school and promoting a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, Advocates for Children and Youth (ACY) has developed a step-by-step online tool, called the Effective School Discipline Guide, to aid schools and districts in developing fair and effective discipline policies and practices. This tool is designed to complement the Maryland State Board of Education’s (MSBE) efforts to revise the state’s regulations on school discipline and the code of conduct.

Advocates for Children and Youth wants to help administrators and educators change student behavior for the better while keeping children in school and actively learning. The online guide provides information on how a school district can implement in-school practices that yield results.

Update: The Maryland State Board of Education voted in February 2014 to enact the new regulations that eliminated zero-tolerance policies and instituted a common-sense approach to discipline.

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