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Are State Policy Reforms in Oregon Associated with Fewer School Suspensions and Expulsions?

September 18, 2020


Exclusionary discipline practices that remove students from classroom instruction are costly to both students and educators. In 2013 and 2015 Oregon passed two laws requiring districts to move away from zero-tolerance policies and focus on reducing unnecessary suspensions and expulsions.

Our latest study examined the association between state-level policy reforms and suspension and expulsion rates in Oregon public schools over a nine-year period. The study found that the reforms were associated with some short-term reductions in out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, after pre-policy trends, seasonality, and district characteristics were adjusted for. However, many disciplinary actions reverted—or appeared to be reverting—toward pre-policy trends within a few years. Meanwhile, for all grade spans the policy reforms were not associated with reductions in the use of in-school suspensions after other factors were adjusted for.

The declining rates of exclusionary discipline indicate progress, but growth in out-of-school suspensions in recent years suggests the need for further monitoring and additional support.

Read the report.