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Changes in Exclusionary and Nonexclusionary Discipline in Grades K-5 Following State Policy Reform in Oregon

February 20, 2021

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Oregon has enacted policy reforms in the past decade that are intended to reduce the overall number of exclusionary discipline actions (actions that remove students from classroom instruction through suspension or expulsion) and to eliminate racial disparities in the application of exclusionary discipline. A reform enacted in 2015 limits the use of exclusionary discipline for students in grades K-5 to situations that pose a direct threat to the safety of other students and adults.

At the request of Oregon education leaders, the REL Northwest examined data from a voluntary sample of 401 schools in Oregon to determine whether the 2015 policy reform was associated with changes in the use of exclusionary and nonexclusionary discipline for K-5 students who were referred to the school office for disciplinary reasons. The study found that after the 2015 policy reform, office discipline referrals became significantly less likely to result in exclusionary discipline, and therefore more likely to result in nonexclusionary discipline, than before the reform for most student racial/ethnic groups. However, for Black students the opposite was true. Office discipline referrals issued to Black students became more likely to result in exclusionary discipline, and therefore less likely to result in nonexclusionary discipline.

The report findings have important implications for state leaders to consider in their efforts to reduce exclusionary discipline and racial disparities in school discipline for grades K-5.


Changes in Exclusionary and Nonexclusionary Discipline in Grades K–5 Following State Policy Reform in Oregon
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