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Exclusionary School Discipline and Delinquent Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis


Excluding students from school remains a common form of punishment despite growing critique of the practice. A disparate research base has impeded the ability to make broader assessments on the association between exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspensions and expulsions) and subsequent behavior. This article synthesizes existing empirical evidence (274 effect sizes from 40 primary studies) examining the relationship between exclusionary discipline and delinquent outcomes, including school misconduct/infractions, antisocial behavior, involvement with the justice system, and risky behaviors. This meta-analysis identifies exclusionary discipline as an important and meaningful predictor of increased delinquency. Additional examinations of potential moderators, including race/ethnicity and type of exclusion, revealed no significant differences, suggesting the harm associated with exclusions is consistent across subgroups. These findings indicate exclusionary discipline may inadvertently exacerbate rather than mollify delinquent behaviors.


Source: National Institute of Health (2021). Exclusionary School Discipline and Delinquent Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.