The use of harsh discipline in elementary and high schools – suspensions and expulsions – has skyrocketed since the mid-1990s. More than 3 million children per year are suspended from school and an additional 100,000 are expelled. Over the last several years, however, there has been growing awareness that excluding young people from school has devastating effects that include increased student dropout/pushout rates, decreased graduation rates, and increased youth involvement in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
This report investigates how colleges are using high school disciplinary information in the admissions process and how high schools are responding to requests for such information about their students. We frame our fndings in the context of the increased criminalization of normative adolescent behavior and the disparate impact of suspensions and expulsions on students of color and students with disabilities. Efforts to improve access to education for young people from low income communities of color and frst-generation college students are undermined by policies that includehigh school disciplinary information in admissions decision making. Instead of promoting campus safety, excluding students with past disciplinary records is likely to decrease public safety in society at large by denying opportunities for higher education to otherwise qualifed applicants.