5 Actions to Reduce Exclusionary Discipline

OSEP Launches 200+ Resource Database to Support Reducing Exclusionary Discipline

Discipline and Behavior. 5 Actions to Reduce Exclusionary Discipline. Final Post in Series.

Over the last seven months, this Discipline Discussions blog series has highlighted many of the most pressing issues in the discipline practices and behavioral supports for children with disabilities: informal removals, discipline disparities, suspensions and expulsions in early childhood programs, to name a few.

Valerie C. Williams Director, Office of Special Education Programs Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

By Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs

But this blog series was never intended to admire a challenge we know exists. Instead, every month OSEP-funded technical assistance centers have provided concrete, actionable, turnkey resources for educators, families, early childhood programs, and administrators at the state and local levels to reduce exclusionary discipline.

To that end, I am thrilled to share that OSEP launched a new webpage with an online database of over 200 resources related to reducing exclusionary discipline, which includes:

  • Customized access to resources based on role (e.g., educator, administrator, parent) and topic (e.g., reducing suspensions, positive behavioral supports and interventions);
  • Fourteen resource guides for quick access on key topics; and
  • Access to OSEP’s technical assistance centers, related policy documents, multi-media presentations and more!

I hope you find this new resource helpful in your efforts to reduce exclusionary discipline.

As this blog series comes to a close, I want to leave you with five key actions that you can take to reduce exclusionary discipline:

1. Adopt a prevention mindset: When schools and early childhood programs prioritize understanding why a child behaves in a certain way, root causes can be addressed and work can be done to prevent, or mitigate, future challenges.

More information:

2. Examine data: Data can tell a powerful story. For example, data tell us that children with disabilities, particularly children of color with disabilities, are suspended and expelled from school at greater rates than their peers, a trend that starts as early as preschool and extends throughout high school. Breaking this cycle starts with a transparent analysis of multiple data points to reveal the story the data are telling, develop and test hypotheses, and ultimately define a root cause.

More information:

3. Create and support systems: Reducing exclusionary discipline starts with building systems at the state, local, and school levels to support the implementation of evidence-based practices, instructional and leadership practices. Systems supports provide the infrastructure, including capacity building resources, needed to examine, plan, implement, and sustain a cohesive approach to reducing exclusionary discipline. Systems include those impacting early childhood, K-12 education and educator preparation.

More information:

4. Implement evidence-based practices: We cannot suspend our way to better behavior, but we can support the use of evidence-based practices that can support the behavioral needs of children with disabilities. Examples include positive behavioral interventions and supports in a multi-tiered system of support (PBIS/MTSS), social skills instruction, self-management, high leverage classroom practices, and differentiated and explicit academic instruction.

More information:

5. Access OSEP Technical Assistance Resources: Reducing exclusionary discipline takes commitment and dedication – and access to high-quality resources. OSEP is committed to providing practical tools and resources to a range of stakeholders to support state and local efforts to reduce exclusionary discipline.

More information, visit: OSEP’s Positive Supports for Behavior and Discipline webpage.

As a reader of this blog series, I thank you for your interest in reducing exclusionary discipline and hope that the topics discussed support you in your own conversations about discipline. Together, we can have the hard conversations, make the necessary changes, and improve outcomes for all children.

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