Student Discipline

In keeping with its core mission of educational equity and justice, ELC works diligently to establish and protect the rights and needs of NJ students in school discipline proceedings. Through litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and guidance for students and families, ELC aims to reduce “zero-tolerance” punishment and removal from school, and to defend all students’ right to a quality education with dignity and due process.

For both the most current and archival information on ELC’s school discipline work, please visit our News page.

To stay up-to-date on our work, subscribe to our electronic news releases by entering your contact information in the Join Our Network box on the lower right-hand side of this page.

Advocacy & Litigation

In ELC’s groundbreaking case, P.H. v. Board of Education of Bergenfield, the NJ State Board of Education held that students expelled from school are entitled to an alternative education program until age 20, and that students suffer irreparable harm when their education is disrupted. 

ELC’s advocacy efforts contributed to New Jersey’s adoption of statewide discipline regulations in 2005, which continue to protect students’ due process rights, emphasizing use of prevention and intervention before school removal, requiring provision of educational services within five days of removal from school, and placing restrictions on the use of expulsion as punishment. Additional resources on student codes of conduct and student suspension, expulsion and due process can be found on the New Jersey Department of Education’s website.

On a national level, ELC participates in the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a coalition of groups advocating for an end to school pushout; alternatives to zero tolerance, punishment and removal; the right of every child to receive a quality education and to be treated with dignity and fairness; and halting the “school to prison pipeline.”


School Discipline in New Jersey: A Toolkit for Students, Families and Advocates report title page

Published in partnership with Advocates for Children of New Jersey, ELC’s 2018 advocacy guide, “School Discipline in New Jersey: A Toolkit for Students, Families and Advocates,” provides comprehensive, practical information, based in New Jersey state law, to assist students, families, educators and community stakeholders in advocating for fair disciplinary practices.

To read other ELC reports on student discipline, visit the Publications page on this website.

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