OLR Research Report


February 7, 2002

 

2002-R-0123

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS

 

By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst

Kristina Arsenault, Legislative Fellow

GRANT

TYPE

PURPOSE

GRANTEES

Prevention and Intervention Programs for Neglected, Delinquent, and At-Risk Youth

Formula (state grants)

Competitive (subgrants)

· Provide special services to neglected, delinquent, and at-risk youths

· Prevent such youths from dropping out of school or returning to correctional facilities or facilities for neglected and delinquent youths

States

Subgrants to:

· State agencies providing education in institutions, community day programs, or adult prisons

· School districts with high numbers of students in institutions for neglected and delinquent children and adult prisons

Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities

Formula

Support programs that prevent violence in or near schools; illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, and promote parental and community involvement

States

95% for subgrants to school districts. (Governor may reserve up to 20% of state allotment for competitive grants to school districts, community-based organizations, other public and private organizations and consortia of the above)

Hate-Crime Prevention Grants

Competitive

Assistance to localities directly affected by hate crimes

School districts and community-based organizations

Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse

Competitive

Programs to reduce alcohol abuse in secondary schools

School districts

Mentoring Program Grants

Competitive

Promote mentoring programs for children with greatest need

· School districts

· Nonprofit community-based organizations

· Partnerships between the above

Grants for Improving the Mental Health of Children

Competitive

Increase student access to quality mental health care through programs linking local school and mental health systems

· State education agencies

· School districts

· Indian tribes

Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Programs

Competitive

Establish and expand qualifying elementary and secondary school counseling programs

School districts

The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) is used in 60 New York City Schools. It is a K-12 program that focuses on conflict resolution and intergroup relations. Created in 1985, RCCP is one of the largest and longest running conflict resolution programs. Its primary goal is "to ensure that young people develop the social and emotional skills needed to reduce violence and prejudice, form caring relationships, and build healthy lives. " RCCP teaches young people conflict resolution skills, promotes intercultural understanding, and provides models for positive ways of dealing with conflict and differences.

RCCP is being used in 375 schools nationwide, including in Anchorage, Atlanta, New Orleans, Newark, Phoenix, and Boston. A two-year evaluation by Columbia University's National Center for Children in Poverty found students in the program were less hostile, less likely to resort to aggression, and more likely to resolve conflict verbally instead of physically.

George McDonough of the Rhode Island Department of Education reports that Rhode Island is implementing conflict resolution programs statewide. Instead of using suspension as a disciplinary measure, he says that schools are trying to move toward correcting the students' behaviors. The department developed a statewide task force that has just completed a study of this topic. Its report is due out at the end of February. We will forward a copy at your request.

Maryland

Maryland has implemented the following school discipline initiatives, in addition to Character Counts (see Tennessee above):

Special Programs for Disruptive Students. A 1996 law requires each local board of education to provide a continuum model of prevention and intervention activities and programs that reduce disruption and encourage and promote positive behavior. (Md. Code Ann. , § 7-304)

Monitoring Discipline Data. Annually, each school system gathers suspension and expulsion information for each school, by type of offense, and submits it to the state education department. The department monitors this data, works with the local districts to analyze it, identifies problem areas, and implements initiatives to address needs.

Annapolis Road Middle School (ARMS). ARMS is a regional school designed to provide educational and support services to middle school students identified as habitually disruptive in their current placement.

1998 Safe Schools Conference. The purpose of the conference was to provide information on programs and activities that encourage and promote positive behavior and reduce student disruption. In addition, the conference allowed time for work session teams to incorporate the information and develop action plans for use in their local school systems, schools, and communities.

Special Initiatives for Safe Schools Grant. School teams that participated in the Safe Schools Conference were eligible to submit proposals for a competitive grant to implement effective strategies in their schools. Each school chosen had to analyze its school climate and discipline information and create a plan to address identified needs.

Second Step. This preschool through 9th grade program is designed to reduce impulsive and aggressive behavior in children and increase their level of social competence.

Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution Programs. Both programs teach students appropriate ways to resolve conflicts or disagreements. A fuller description of these programs appears on the Maryland Education Department website's school safety page.

Texas

Texas has implemented the Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline (CMCD) program in some school districts. The program designed to help schools establish and maintain order. CMCD started in the 1980s to increase student motivation and self-discipline by equipping students to share in responsibility for classroom management and discipline.

Consistency Management focuses on classroom organization and planning by teachers and other school staff. Cooperative Discipline trains students to share in the classroom management role of teachers and paraprofessionals. Students are allowed to assume responsibility for resolving disputes, solving problems, and making decisions. They acquire the necessary experience to become self-disciplined and act as responsible citizens of the school community.

CMCD has been implemented in more than 25 Texas schools, most of them in metropolitan Houston. The program is also being used in Chicago, where an evaluation of it in three K-8 schools found a 47% decrease in discipline referrals from 1998 to 1999, as well as an increase in student achievement.

JL/KA/eh