Restraint, seclusion, suspension, expulsion, and corporal punishment are harmful discipline approaches commonly used in schools. These punitive disciplinary practices are disproportionately used on disabled, Black, and brown children. Restraint and seclusion are dangerous and can lead to significant trauma and injuries to students, teachers, and staff. Children have even died as a result of the use of restraint and seclusion. Exclusionary discipline can lead children to become disengaged with school and more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system. There are far better ways to support children. Our schools should be moving towards trauma-informed, neuroscience-aligned, relationship-driven, and collaborative approaches to supporting all students.
We can and must do better.
Safer schools for students, teachers, and staff.
Our mission is to inform changes in policy and practice to reduce and eliminate the use of punitive discipline and outdated behavioral management approaches and end the school-to-prison pipeline.
We value, embrace, and celebrate diversity. We are committed to equitable treatment of all human beings irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, identity, and neurological differences. We are also dedicated to the elimination of racism and discrimination in all forms.
All children must be treated with dignity and respect. Children must not be humiliated, manipulated, exploited, or subjected to harsh forms of punishment, such as restraint, seclusion, and corporal punishment. Such treatment negatively impacts a child’s feelings of dignity, value, and self-worth.
A sense of emotional as well as physical safety is a prerequisite for learning, a child can not learn if they do not feel safe. Children who feel valued, safe, seen, soothed, and secure at school are unlikely to engage in behavior that might be challenging to educators, and they are more likely to be successful in school.
We believe that strong relationships are the key to working with all children. Co-regulation and connection with a trusted adult can help children to build self-regulation skills. Positive relationships between families and schools are also critical in helping children to be successful.
We believe that schools should be inclusive for all children. The principles of universal design should be incorporated in all learning environments. All students must be provided with appropriate supports, accommodations, and modifications to ensure that they have an equal opportunity to succeed.
We believe that collaboration is the key to solving problems that occur when students are unable to meet school expectations. When students and school staff collaborate to solve problems durable solutions can be achieved that meet the concerns of all involved parties.
We believe that to reduce and eliminate aversive practices, school staff must have an understanding of neuroscience, including brain structure and function; the brain/body regulatory systems; stress, distress, and trauma; threat response patterns; sensitization and tolerance; state-dependent functioning; and resilience.