The Intersection of Juvenile Courts and Exclusionary School Discipline

October 9, 2017


Prior to the passage of the Gun Free Zone Act of 1994 (GFZA), school administrators and educators were largely responsible for addressing student misbehavior in schools. However, since the implementation of GFZA, an increasing number of school-related issues have instead come before the juvenile courts due to highly punitive school policies and practices. Zero tolerance policies and exclusionary discipline have led to what is commonly referred to as school pathways to juvenile justice. This Technical Assistance Bulletin describes the history of zero tolerance policies, exclusionary discipline, and school pushout. This Bulletin describes how the effectiveness of exclusionary discipline has been called into question by education scholars, community leaders, and policymakers. The Bulletin provides real-world strategies to reduce the number of youth who unnecessarily come into contact with law enforcement and the juvenile justice system.