Examining Disparities in Vermont School Disciplinary Record Disclosure

PRS Briefs
Monday, August 1, 2022

Between 2013 and 2015, an average of 5.3 percent of all Vermont K-12 students were suspended or expelled from school.1 These adolescent mistakes that resulted in suspension or expulsion have the potential to hamper Vermont students' post-secondary pursuits if they are recorded and released to colleges and universities or employers. In addition, there is a risk that school disciplinary records can be hacked and subsequently leaked, posing a risk to the privacy and mental well-being of students. Currently, there is no statewide standard for how high schools should structure their disciplinary record disclosure policies. As a consequence, there are disparities and ambiguities on the disciplinary record disclosure policies at the school level. These differences in disclosure policies can cause postsecondary educational outcome disparities between Vermont students based on where they attended high school. This report to the Vermont House of Representatives Education Committee first examines the current state of disclosure policies in Vermont. Then through the collection of original data from high school guidance counselors and college admission officers, we examine the disparities present across Vermont high schools in their disciplinary record disclosure policies and assesses the impact of disciplinary disclosures on the admissions process for colleges and universities. Finally, we present the key findings from our original research and analyze the implications of these findings for Vermont high school students.