State of Discipline: A Snapshot of Discipline Allocation in North Carolina Public Schools

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This report provides a detailed picture of the state of discipline allocation in North Carolina public and, to an extent, charter schools up until the 2016-2017 school year. It specifically examines suspensions, expulsions, and instances of corporal punishment. It pays special attention to discipline gaps related to both exceptional students and those of racial/ethnic minority groups. It also offers insight on the discipline of early learners.

All the data in this report comes from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Original data analysis was performed by the author. However, all raw data, including student population statistics and instances of exclusionary discipline/corporal punishment, were reported directly to DPI, as mandated by state law. This data is publicly available, which allowed for the calculation of discipline rates and gaps in allocation by student group.

As demonstrated by the data, North Carolina schools still over-utilize punitive disciplinary practices like suspensions, expulsions, and corporal punishment, despite compelling evidence that the practices negatively impact students' academic and social development.

The over-reliance on punitive discipline continues, despite a 2011 change in state-wide education legislation and is especially pronounced for black and American Indian students. Children with disabilities too are disproportionately disciplined. Elementary-aged students are subject to exclusionary discipline and corporal punishment at an alarming rate, as well.

To combat harmful trends in school discipline procedure and allocation, this report not only highlights areas of the state that would benefit most from interventions, but also offers specific, evidence-based recommendations.





Ashley, Arnold (2018). State of Discipline: A Snapshot of Discipline Allocation in North Carolina Public Schools. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.