Padres y Jóvenes Unidos Help Win the Smart School Discipline Law, Overturning Extreme Post-Columbine Approach


Colorado’s Padres y Jóvenes Unidos celebrated the passage of the Smart School Discipline Law, which encourages safe, smart and cost-effective school discipline approaches statewide, and overturns counterproductive approaches rushed into place following the Columbine High School tragedy. By giving schools discretion over suspensions, promoting effective responses to misbehavior, enhancing teacher training and streamlining data collection, the Law is already becoming model legislation for other states around the country.

The Smart School Discipline Law is a victory for Colorado students and families, carrying statewide the reforms that community-based organization Padres y Jóvenes Unidos won in Denver.  Padres y Jóvenes Unidos’ fight for common sense and cost-effective school discipline led to a revised policy for Denver Public Schools, which resulted in a 44% drop in out-of-school suspensions between the 2003/04 and 2009/10 school years.  Since 2008, youth leaders of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos have been championing a statewide campaign to end the school-to-prison pipeline, educating peers and testifying before lawmakers to keep 10,000 Colorado students per year out of the juvenile justice system for minor infractions.

Passage of the Smart School Discipline Law demonstrates how community-based leadership can win better schools for children, and save tens of thousands of children from being funneled into the criminal justice system.  Public Interest Projects salutes this monumental achievement of the youth and parent leaders of Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, which Public Interest Projects’ Just and Fair Schools Fund and Communities for Public Education Reform have been proud to support for years.

Read more about this and other school discipline wins around the country in the latest Just and Fair Schools Fund newsletter.