- In 2015, Syracuse Public Schools in New York made the decision to refrain from making graduates' disciplinary records available to colleges and universities.
- District Administration reports that the move was part of an effort to prevent those records from having a disproportionate impact on students' chances of being accepted to college, and it came at a time when the district was making additional moves, prompted by the state's attorney general, to curb disproportionate discipline against students of color and those with special needs.
- In the years since, the district has seen an increase in its graduation rate and the number of students going to college alongside a 50% decline in disciplinary referrals.
Syracuse isn't alone in withholding disciplinary records from colleges and universities: The practice has gained steam nationwide, and a number of higher ed institutions have also followed suit in dropping them from consideration in their admissions processes.
Consideration around the impact of practices such as these has risen not only as schools work to mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline — which sees underserved students in particular directed into the juvenile and then adult justice systems via harsh disciplinary processes — but as K-12 and higher ed both work to boost achievement among students of color.
In high-demand STEM fields in particular, there has been a deficit of diverse graduates prepared for the workforce, with April research showing fewer than 1% of engineering degrees awarded in 2015 went to black females. Part of the solution to this problem has fallen on providing students role models who look like them, and some higher ed institutions, like Rice University, have taken to offering camps focused on stoking greater interest among these student populations or cooperating more closely with the K-12 sector to reach them in school.