Tough school discipline codes like zero-tolerance policies often result in mandatory suspensions, expulsion or arrest, often for non-violent offenses that could be dealt with in the school, robbing students of classroom time, needed interventions and mentorship, all while disproportionately impacting black, Hispanic and special education students. Students who are suspended even once are more likely to drop out, and young people who drop out of high school are more than 8 times as likely to be incarcerated as those who graduate. The U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidelines advising schools on steps to avoid discriminatory policies and reinforce positive behavior over tactics that drive students out of school. Additional information is in the links below. Next time, I’ll report on success stories in Chicago — schools that have dramatically reduced suspensions and drop out rates through effective restorative justice programming and support.