A Framework for Effective School Discipline

Positive and effective school discipline is critical to promoting students' successful learning and well-being. This guidance from NASP provides an evidence-based framework for effective school discipline policies and practices that:

  • promote a positive school climate
  • reinforce positive and prosocial behaviors
  • promote school safety
  • keep students in the classroom and out of the juvenile justice system
  • addresses and reduces disproportionality in exclusionary discipline practices

School psychologists play an integral role in the collaborative process that includes developing a shared understanding of the key components of effective discipline, the benefits of effective practices, consequences of punitive discipline, and specific steps schools can take to implement effective approaches. This document outlines these key practices and offers federal, state, and local policy recommendations to promote equitable and effective discipline and to reduce the use of suspension, expulsion, and other exclusionary discipline practices, particularly those that disproportionately impact students of color. 

NASP References & Resources

National Association of School Psychologists. (NASP; 2016). Integrated Model of Academic and Behavioral Supports [Position statement]. Bethesda, MD: Author.

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP; 2018). Understanding Race and Privilege [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author. 

National Association of School Psychologists. (2018). Effective school discipline policies and practices: Supporting student learning [Research summary]. Bethesda, MD: Author.

Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion: Going Beyond Admiring the Problem to Taking Action Podcast

External References & Resources

Cook, Clayton R., Coco, S., Zhang, Y., Fiat, A., Duong, M.T., Renshaw, T.C., Long, A.C., & Frank, S. (2018) Cultivating Positive Teacher-Student Relationships: Preliminary Evaluation of the Establish-Maintain-Restore (EMR) Method. School Psychology Review: September 2018, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 226-243.

Gregory, A., Huang, F. L., Anyon, Y., Greer, E., & Downing, B. (2018). An examination of restorative interventions and racial equity in out-of-school suspensions. School Psychology Review, 47(2), 167-182.

Iovannone, R. Kincaid, D. & Christiansen, P.S. (2015). FBA/BIP Technical Adequacy Tool for Evaluation.

Safe Supportive Learning - Addressing the Root Causes of Discipline Disparities

Transforming School Discipline Collaborative. (2016). Transforming School Discipline Collaborative's model code of conduct:  An interdisciplinary approach to transforming school discipline.  


Contact Information

Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach, Director of Policy & Advocacy, kvaillancourt@naspweb.org

Kathy Cowan, Director of Communications, kcowan@naspweb.org

The Framework

Related Resources

ASCA-NASP School Re-Entry SEL Considerations Guidance
NASP and American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has released a resource with considerations for local education agencies and schools planning re-entry post COVID-19 closures.

School Psychology Review Special Edition on Racial Disparities in School Discipline
In October 2018, School Psychology Review published a special issue on disproportionality in school discipline. This page discusses the top-line findings and links to a podcast discussion with the guest editors.