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Opportunity Suspended: How Integrated Student Supports Promotes Positive School Discipline

Young people today face a wide range of challenges, including depression, anxiety, and exposure to trauma, all often related to behavioral issues.

Nearly three million U.S. students are suspended from their schools every year resulting in the estimated loss of 18 million instructional days. But, when these young people are empowered with the appropriate supports to address these challenges and are provided with the necessary social and emotional skills to self-regulate behavior, the need for disciplinary referrals can be reduced.
Integrated supports are defined as “a school-based approach to promoting students’ academic success by developing or securing and coordinating supports that target academic and non-academic barriers to achievement.”  Integrated student supports can improve conditions for learning by engaging teachers, families, school staff, and communities to provide a network of support for children. Research shows that, when well implemented, this approach can promote the success of individual students and create the type of supportive learning environment that enables all students to thrive.
State policymakers can help by providing a balanced approach—supporting laws that limit the use of exclusionary discipline while also supporting schools ‘capacity to foster safe and productive learning environments. Policymakers can contribute by supporting school-based efforts to provide students with trauma-informed care that builds protective factors like social and emotional skills and strong relationships with adults.


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