In December 2018, the Federal Commission on School Safety released their Report which was followed several days later by the rescinding of the Federal School Discipline Guidance.
How are the two things related?
- The commission was formed after the Parkland shooting to develop recommendations to address gun violence in schools. Among the recommendations it made, it recommended rescinding of the federal school discipline guidance (which happened 3 days later).
- The Federal School Discipline Guidance Package was released in 2014 after years of work pushing to put something like it in place, including by DSC members. It names the existing laws that all schools must follow to avoid discrimination based on race in school discipline. It didn’t create any new laws, but it did give more clarity and provided tons of resources for schools and districts. It was identified early on as something the DeVos/Trump administration wanted to get rid of, and it happened on the Friday afternoon before Christmas.
Statements from DSC and Allies:
- DSC statement on the report and statement on the guidance
- CJSF report – Do the Harder Work: Create Cultures of Connectedness in Schools
- Education Civil Rights Alliance (includes letter to local education officials reminding them that their obligations to prevent racial discrimination still stand), Advancement Project, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
What does this mean for our work against school pushout?
- The Law is Still the Law: the guidance did not create or change any laws, and withdrawing the guidance has no effect on the law. Schools are still prohibited from discriminating against students, and the Department of Education is still obligated to act when a complaint is filed against a school or district.
- The guidance package contains resources that are still useful! The National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments and the National Clearinghouse on Supportive School Discipline have them archived.
- Other important resources as we continue our work:
- Examples of localities upholding the guidance despite the rescission:
- Indiana – WBAA – Lawmaker: Change To Federal School Discipline Guidance Won’t Impact Indiana
- New York State – Chalkbeat- New York Education Officials Reject Federal Changes on Discipline Policies
- Wake County and Durham County, North Carolina – Trump may roll back Obama school discipline rules, but 2 NC districts will keep them
- Warren County, Kentucky – Change to federal school discipline guidance won’t affect schools, administrators say
- Illinois Evanston/Skokie School District 65 – District 65 pledges to ‘stay the course’ after DeVos revokes guidelines protecting students of color from suspensions
- Brookings Institute – School Safety Comission’s Report Uses Tenuous Logic to Walk Back Guidance on School Discipline
- US News and World Report – Study Contradicts Betsy DeVos’ Reason for Eliminating School Discipline Guidance