The Facts

  • Citable offenses are too broad. Disrupting class is a citable offense in the Education Code, which includes ordinary misbehavior such as “emitting noise of an intensity that prevents or hinders classroom instruction,” and requires a student to appear in court with a fine of up to $500.
  • Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEPs) are ineffective but have expanded over the last decade. From 1999-2009, the number of youth assigned increased 24%, to 92,719 students, including 13,382 first through sixth graders. The dropout rate for students assigned to a DAEP is 225% higher than the dropout rate for Texas schools as a whole (and 80% of Texas adult inmates are dropouts).
  • In the 2009-10 school year, there were 284,028 students suspended out-of-school 575,306 times. Notably, 95% of these suspensions were discretionary. These suspensions translate to multiple days spent without parental supervision or education.



  • Require districts to implement a tiered discipline system that first uses traditional disciplinary methods prior to justice system involvement except for serious offenses.
  • Permit school police officers and other law enforcement personnel to issue civil citations to juveniles rather than arresting them for minor misdemeanors. Civil citation programs often include community service.
  • Narrow the focus of citable offenses in the Education Code to behavior that poses a danger to others and reduce arbitrariness in enforcement.
  • Incorporate school disciplinary outcomes into the state school accountability system.
  • Narrow categories of conduct mandating expulsions and suspensions to limit such responses to blameless behavior, such as validly prescribed but unregistered prescription drugs or asthma inhalers.