Learning Center

Beyond Zero Tolerance: Positive Approaches to Discipline

Many school systems are still espousing “zero tolerance” and exclusionary punishments such as out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, but students cannot learn if they are not in school. Such punishments predict dropout, grade retention, and involvement in the justice system. However, some school administrators feel like these exclusionary punishments are the only tools they have to ensure that other students are able to learn. Hear from attorney and advocate Matt Cregor about the rise and impact of exclusionary school discipline rates, ways to avert situations leading to confrontations, and efforts to improve the learning environment.

Matt Cregor

As a staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF),  Matt Cregor provides support for community-led efforts to improve school discipline and is working to integrate these efforts with the national push to reform the No Child Left Behind Act.  He facilitates the federal advocacy of the Dignity in Schools Campaign to engage Congress and the administration in support of disciplinary policies and practices that improve the learning environment and keep students engaged and in school. Before practicing law, Matt taught fifth grade at a middle school in the Bronx, New York.

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Open to view video. Many school systems are still espousing “zero tolerance” and exclusionary punishments such as out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, but students cannot learn if they are not in school. Such punishments predict dropout, grade retention, and involvement in the justice system. However, some school administrators feel like these exclusionary punishments are the only tools they have to ensure that other students are able to learn. Hear from attorney and advocate Matt Cregor about the rise and impact of exclusionary school discipline rates, ways to avert situations leading to confrontations, and efforts to improve the learning environment.
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