The impact of restorative practices on the use of out-of-school suspensions: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial


The overuse of exclusionary discipline practices, such as out-of-school suspensions (OSS), have consistently been documented over several decades. The resulting racial discipline disparities and the negative outcomes related to OSS have led policy makers and educators to consider other approaches to school discipline. One such approach, which has gained increasing use in the United States, is restorative practices (RP). However, despite its popularity, the experimental evidence base of the effects of RP and suspensions is extremely limited. To add to this knowledge base, we present findings from a cluster randomized controlled trial with 18 K-12 schools in an urban district in the U.S. Northeast with 5,878 students. Multilevel regression results, after one year of the intervention, showed no differences in the likelihood of suspension between students in the intervention and control schools and that the effects of the intervention did not vary by race/ethnicity, gender, or student disability status. However, for students in the intervention group, we show reductions in the likelihood of receiving an OSS for students who had previously been suspended.

Prevention Science