Banning Progress: Suspension Bans and Schoolwide Academic Growth

22 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018

Date Written: May 3, 2018


The past decade has seen a burgeoning practical and theoretical interest in reforming how schools manage discipline. A growing number of states and school districts have banned or limited suspensions for all but the most serious offenses. This paper analyzes a natural experiment: the 2013 suspension ban in Los Angeles Unified School District. The ban led to a substantial, 0.2 standard deviation decrease in academic growth among middle schools that had previously issued the banned suspensions. Four subsequent suspension bans – in San Francisco, Pasadena, Oakland, and (grades K-3) all of California – also appear to have harmed academic growth. Education leaders considering a suspension ban should carefully weigh this trade-off; other policy options may decrease suspension rates without harming academic growth.

Keywords: school discipline, suspension, education, academic growth, natural experiment

Suggested Citation

Zarecki, Dominic, Banning Progress: Suspension Bans and Schoolwide Academic Growth (May 3, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Dominic Zarecki (Contact Author)

Boston University ( email )

United States

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