U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

School-Based Interventions to Reduce Suspension and Arrest: A Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 56 Dated: 2021 Pages: 1-17
Date Published
17 pages

The main objective of this meta-analysis was to examine the results of recent randomized controlled trials of school-based programs to reduce student suspension and arrest, hypothesizing that school-based programs that reform how schools use the sanction of suspension, and programs that work intensely with youth, will both reduce suspension.


This meta-analysis summarizes recent experimental evidence on school-based interventions designed to reduce student suspensions and arrests. Eligible studies included randomized controlled trials from 2008 to 2019 with at least 100 students and an official measure of either suspension or arrest. Fourteen studies were found, resulting in 12 suspension effects and 6 arrest effects. Overall, interventions showed small but not statistically significant reductions in arrests and suspensions. Suspension effects differed by intervention characteristics: well-implemented interventions demonstrated significant reductions in student suspensions but interventions with explicit implementation problems did not. Interventions in high schools reduced suspensions significantly whereas elementary school interventions did not. The authors conclude that well-implemented school-based interventions may reduce suspensions by building positive environments and providing supports for students. More research should be done to identify ways in which these and other programs can best be implemented to reduce suspensions and arrests. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2021