Fact or Fiction: Schools Are No Longer Allowed to Use Exclusion or Suspensions?!

Kurt Hatch
Apr 26, 2019

cartoon of student being sent out of the classroom


While not completely accurate, this headline reflects the feeling of many principals Washington grappling with changes to state laws for suspensions and expulsion. To be clear, schools can still use exclusion as a tool, but the new discipline rules put a significant squeeze on when and how it is applied.

The new rules have resulted in uncertainty regarding compliance and many folks have been left wondering, “What technically constitutes a suspension now?” Also, curiosity about alternative methods for discipline is at an all-time high, particularly when research clearly shows exclusion is not an effective teaching tool for modifying students’ behavior.

With all that in mind, AWSP is collaborating with WASA, WSSDA, and ESD 113 to create an informational video that should help. The upcoming video will answer questions about reducing and eliminating suspensions and provide resources. For example, WSSDA will share a model policy for school boards to adopt.

In the meantime, if you are like so many others across the state who are looking for insight about how to do respond to the new law and, in turn, shift the adult mindset about suspension, consider registering for the following free webinar this Tuesday, April 30th.

Positive Discipline and Healthy Kids: An Opportunity for Washington State.

New Discipline Rules Discourage Suspension/Expulsion and Encourage Positive

Date & Time:
Tuesday April 30, 2019 | 11 AM – 12 PM PDT 
Presented by: The Association of Washington School Principals and ChangeLab Solutions 
Co-Sponsored by: Education Service District 112 and the OSPI Center for the Improvement of Student Learning

Register Now

If you are leading the shift towards eliminating the use of suspensions, be sure to share why. For example, studies find lower exclusion rates are associated with:

  • Higher student engagement and achievement.
  • Increased school safety/positive school climate.
  • Lower stress/increased satisfaction of school staff.

And did you know about all the studies examining whether students from different racial/ethnic groups are more prone to negative behavior than others? In the most rigorous studies, researchers found no significant. This means discipline disparities are more an issue of adult behavior than a problem of student behavior.

If you need the tools and resources to more equitably support kids and help change the adult mindset in your school, make sure to watch the webinar.

  • equity
  • expulsion
  • suspension
  • discipline
  • MTSS
  • webinar
  • Resource

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