The following are examples of successful legislation that helps combat the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track.


These two laws mandate the involvement of students, parents, the community, and teachers and administrators in developing behavior standards; require schools to periodically review and revise these standards with a multi-stakeholder group; create policies for student conflict resolution and nonviolent resolution procedures; and require standards be in place to address student mental health and substance abuse concerns.

Citations: Alaska Stat. § 14.33.110 (2009) & Alaska Stat. § 14.33.120 (2009).


This is a new law that requires student suspensions to automatically be in-school suspensions rather than out-of-school suspensions unless it is determined that the student poses “such a danger to people or property, or causes such a disruption of the educational process.”

Citation: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-233c (2008)

Check out the advocacy efforts on-the-ground that led to this reform!


This new zero tolerance reform law was signed in June 2009 by Governor Crist. It discourages schools from arresting students for minor offenses such as classroom disruption and fighting; encourages schools to use alternatives to expulsion and referral to law enforcement such as restorative justice; requires schools to take the particular circumstances of the student’s misconduct into account before issuing punishment; responds to the harsh truth of racial disparities in discipline in Florida by stating that zero tolerance policies must apply equally to all races; and requires districts to rewrite their discipline codes and change their zero tolerance policies. The law will by effective July 2009.

Citation: Text of the law - SB 1540

Check out the advocacy efforts on-the-ground that led to this reform!

In May 2010, the Governor of Georgia signed a new zero tolerance reform law. The law
provides for discretion and “common sense” so that when students bring in certain
kinds of “weapons” to school – such as a “fishing knife,” for example (which happened
recently in Georgia) – the school is no longer required to arrest and expel the student
and a first offense can now potentially be considered a delinquent act, rather than a felony.

Text of the law: Senate Bill 299


This new law signed by the Governor in early May 2009 requires school corporations and parents to work together to come up with alternative discipline methods for students. It would require a graduated discipline system that would use severe punishments only as a last resort and ensure that mental health services were available. It would also increase accountability by requiring data collection. It will be effective July 2009.

Text of the bill - HE 1419

Citation will be Ind. Code § 20-26-5-32 (2009).

This law requires that districts adopt a positive behavioral and intervention support program
or an alternative behavior modification program in specific schools where suspension rates or truancy rates reach a certain percentage (specific percentages are listed).

Citation: Md. EDUCATION Code Ann. § 7-304.1 (2010). (click on education to the left, Title 7, and scroll down to 7-304.1).


This new law reduces the use of restraints and other aversive techniques for discipline regarding students with disabilities. It also requires that behavior support programs be based on functional behavioral assessments and include research-based practices.

Citation: 22 Pa. Code § 14.133(a) (2008).

Check out the advocacy efforts on-the-ground that led to the passage of the law!


This new law mandates extenuating and mitigation circumstances, such as intent to do harm, self defense, and any prior student misbehavior, be taken into account when issuing discipline. It also requires prompt notification of parents when a child is disciplined.  

Text of the bill: H.B. 171