Getting It Right: Wise Policy Makes for Effective Dropout Prevention

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Webcast Details

Aired on: September 13th, 2016

3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)

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Our Guest(s) This Week

Dr. Susan Bon

Dr. Susan C. Bon received her law degree and a doctorate in education policy and leadership from The Ohio State University. She has authored and coauthored nearly 40 articles and coauthored book chapters addressing the legal and ethical principles that inform practice and impact leadership in education and special education. She spent one year at the U.S. Education Department working on Title I, Part D (Neglected or Delinquent Youth), McKinney-Vento (EHCY), and Homeless Education Disaster Assistance (HEDA) Grant Programs and coordinated the Institute for Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) in Washington, DC. She has served on the executive boards for the Dream Project in Arlington, VA, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting student success and access to higher education for immigrant students; and the Education Law Association in Cleveland, OH, a national, nonprofit member association offering unbiased information about legal issues affecting education and the rights of those involved in education. She also served as Ombudsman in the State Superintendent’s Division of the Ohio Department of Education. Dr. Bon’s research and teaching expertise includes education law, policy, and leadership across the P-20 continuum; special education law (IDEA, ADA, Rehabilitation Act); values and ethics in education leadership; and personnel and employee decisions.

This Week's Topic

When do school policies lead to unintended consequences that can hurt some students rather than help? When is a policy review at the school level warranted to determine when a policy might be doing more harm than good through these unintended consequences?

Dr. Susan Bon, JD, Higher Education Program Coordinator for the  Department of Educational Leadership and Policies at the University of South Carolina and Editor of the Journal of School Public Relations, examines policies that, while intended to help all students, have led to the opposite effect for certain subsets of the student population. At their worst, the unintended consequences of these policies contribute to higher student grade level failure and higher dropout rates.

This Solutions to the Dropout Crisis webcast looks at some policies and programs that have led to unintended consequences, including

  • Grade policy
  • Medication policy
  • Suspension and expulsion policy
  • Zero tolerance policy
  • Drug abuse policy
  • Attendance policy
  • Alternative education programs
  • Special education programs


Awareness of the Abuse of Procedures for Seclusion and Restraint. (2015). Policy Matters.
policies of seclusion and restraint

Bon, S. C. (2012). Examining the Crossroads of Law, Ethics and Education Leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 22, 285-308.

Bon, S. C., & Bigbee, A. (2011). Special Education Leadership: Integrating Professional and Personal Codes of Ethics to Serve the Best Interest of the Child. Journal of School Leadership, 21(3), 324-359.

Discipline That Restores (DTR) Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies.

4-Year-Old Kindergarten and Policies That Provide Funding for Young Children From At-Risk Situations. (2015). Policy Matters.
policies to support educational policies in support of at-risk kids

Hopkins, B. Restorative Justice In Schools. (2002). Support for Learning17(3), 144-149.

Kane, J., Lloyd, G., McCluskey, G., Maguire, R., Riddell, S., Stead, J., & Weedon, E. (2009). Generating an Inclusive Ethos? Exploring the Impact of Restorative Practices in Scottish Schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education13(3), 231-251. doi: 10.1080/13603110701412950

Oehlberg, B. Why Schools Need to Be Trauma Informed. (Fall/Winter 2008). Trauma and Loss: Research and Interventions, 8(2).

Reinke, W. M., Herman, K. C., & Tucker, C. M. (2006). Building and Sustaining Communities That Prevent Mental Disorders: Lessons From the Field of Special Education. (2006). Psychology in the Schools, 43(3), 313-329. doi: 10.1002/pits.20153

Reynolds CR, Skiba RJ, Graham S, Sheras P, Conoley JC, Garcia-Vazquez E. (2008). Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?: An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations. American Psychology, 63(9), 852-62. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.9.852. Retrieved from

Say Yes to Recess. (2016). Policy Matters.
policies on recess for elementary children

Smith, J. A. (2012). Can Restorative Justice Keep Schools Safe? Retrieved from



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