Board of Trustees to review disciplinary action, police interaction data

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees will review data on disciplinary actions and police interactions with African-American and Special Education student groups at its Board Information Session tonight, including a four-year decrease in the number of disciplinary incidents.

Zoom out: Austin ISD leaders have consistently reviewed disciplinary actions and the corresponding data for years to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline. The pandemic has made this work even more important as mental health and behavior issues have been widespread as students acclimate back to in-person learning.

  • In December, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on the youth mental health crisis in the United States, which was exposed further by the pandemic.
  • District leaders are now working to contend with the mental health and behavioral needs of students while also working to serve student groups, such as African-American and Special Education students, who have historically been disproportionately disciplined, often when mental health interventions would have been more appropriate. 

The presentation’s data is tied to Goals 7 and 8 of the district’s scorecard, which aim to decrease the disparity in disciplinary actions of African-American and Special Education students, and also eliminate arrests and use of force from Austin ISD by police districtwide.

Highlights of the data include:

  • There’s been a 47% drop in the total number of disciplinary incidents for African-American students this year, compared to the last pre-COVID-19 school year in 2018-19. 
  • Special Education students saw a 39% drop in total disciplinary incidents compared to the 2018-19 school year.
  • Austin ISD Police are on target to meet goals to decrease student arrests and use of force. This year, they’ve arrested 15 students total, compared to the total of 442 arrests during the 2018-19 school year.

Review the data ahead of the presentation on the Austin ISD BoardDocs website. Follow the discussion live on AISD.TV or the Austin ISD Facebook page.