Addressing the Root Causes of Disparities in School Discipline: An Educator’s Action Planning Guide USDOE


By The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments


Publication July, 2015
Addressing Discipline Disparities Guide

This action planning guide provides tools to assess and address disparities in school discipline, describing how to carry out a descriptive analysis of the disparities, and how to conduct a root cause analysis to systematically address school-based factors that contribute to disparities. These analyses should result in an actionable understanding of who is being disparately disciplined and what is happening to them, the systemic causes of disparities in school discipline and why they occur, and how to reduce and eliminate disparities in school discipline.

The guide was developed for school and district teams. It will help education leaders and other stakeholders use a data-informed process to examine disparities in school discipline and inform changes to policies and practices. The guide is written to support efforts that include all stakeholders invested in schools—students, families, community-based organizations, advocates, and agencies, including health and mental health professionals and those representing youth development, child welfare, law enforcement, courts, and juvenile justice agencies.

The guide includes resources for understanding, collecting and tracking data, conducting a root cause analysis and creating an action plan. Other resources are noted throughout the guide, including tips for conducting the difficult conversations that need to occur to sensitively and productively address racial, ethnic, and cultural issues that may emerge. 

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