Ontario School Discipline Policies

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A report published by the TDSB in 2017 on expulsions within the TDSB between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 shows that of a total of 307 students expelled, 144 were black males while only 30 students total were white. The 144 black male students comprise 48% of the total students expelled. When compared to the percentage of black students in the TDSB of 12%, it's clear that an imbalance exists.

Not only is an obvious racial imbalance at play, but it is also shocking to see how many students were expelled. Numbers for suspensions are less transparent, but it would follow that the gap exists there as well.

Suspensions and expulsions isolate students from their peers, from positive role models, and from society at large. Expelled students often fail to graduate, pushing them through what is often referred to as the "school to prison pipeline." Students who struggle to find consistent employment are vulnerable to turning to crime.

The TDSB is a step ahead of other Ontario school boards, many of which don't even keep numbers on the race of expelled students, let alone publish them. 

Disciplinary policy in Ontario is governed by the Safe Schools Act. While this document outlines general guidelines for punishments, administrators have significant leeway in deciding on the severity of those punishments, and where they are applied when there are grey areas. It is likely that this freedom is causing disciplinary measures that were made to be used only rarely to be employed frequently. 

Join us at Reform Ontario Suspensions and Expulsions in petitioning the Government of Ontario to reform the Safe Schools Act. Together, we can keep suspensions and expulsions limited in use, and fair in their application to everyone.