Federal Commission on School Safety to Hold Second Listening Session Tomorrow

Federal Commission on School Safety to Hold Second Listening Session Tomorrow

Washington — Representatives from the Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday, June 26, for their second listening session. This listening session will provide members of the public, as well as representatives of state and local government agencies, an opportunity to speak to representatives of the Commission about their views on how to improve school safety.

To watch the sessions live, use this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zMp0zo8uvA

The listening session will be divided into three sessions—sessions one and two will be roundtable discussions with representatives of state and local government agencies and Commission representatives (1-3:15 p.m. EDT) and session three will be for members of the general public to express their views on how to improve school safety (4-6 p.m. EDT).

Members of the public who would like to present remarks at the third session should register here.


The Federal Commission on School Safety was created in the aftermath of the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The Commission is chaired by Secretary DeVos and will consider the repeal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies, including the 2014 Dear Colleague Letter on school discipline. This guidance is intended to help schools and districts meet the requirements of existing civil rights laws and ensure that school discipline policies and practices do not discriminate against students of color.

Repealing these policies will only do harm to students of color and other student groups who are disproportionately affected by harsh disciplinary policies and excessive rates of school exclusion, including students with disabilities and LGBTQ students.

LDF and DSC oppose the Administration’s use of the Parkland tragedy to advance its efforts to repeal policies designed to eliminate racial disparities in school discipline—particularly its effort to “harden” this nation’s schools by providing funding for firearms training for school personnel and additional school police. Instead of taking actions that will make schools less safe and disproportionately impact students of color, the Ed Department and the Department of Justice should fulfill their leadership role in protecting the civil rights of all students.

Key Messages:

  • Now more than ever the federal government must enforce civil rights laws; the Ed Department’s civil rights data show that, nationally, Black students make up 15% of the student population but 39% of those who received at least one out-of-school suspension.
  • Exclusionary discipline and “hardening schools” do not make schools safer. The Trump administration should support evidence-based solutions that support and protect both educators and students.
  • Schools don’t have to choose between keeping students safe and keeping them in school. They can and must do both.  
  • Implicit bias exists and influences school discipline. Let’s help educators and administrators address it. 


  • The following hashtags should be used for this messaging:
    • #RethinkDiscipline; #CounselorsNotCops; #RestorativeJustice

Sample Tweets:

  • Public Comment to the Federal School Safety Commission is still open. Email safety@ed.gov to urge the Trump Administration to maintain the federal school discipline guidance. #RethinkDiscipline
  • The President’s school safety commission meets today for a listening session on improving school safety. But “hardening schools” and revoking the fed. school discipline guidance under the guise of safety is irresponsible and reckless. #RethinkDiscipline. Watch the session live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOHJAk9Indw
  • Arming teachers and increasing police presence in schools makes students less safe and disproportionately impacts students of color. We need #CounselorsNotCops. The President’s school safety commission can and must commit to protecting students’ civil rights. Here is how: https://bit.ly/2sxKOzo.
  • “Hardening schools” isn’t a solution. And guns in schools do not make them safer. We must consider evidence-based solutions, not proven failures. Read about the recent successes of #RestorativeJustice and #CounselorsNotCops in #Texas below: https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/safety/texas-schools-restorative-justice/
  • Students can’t learn if they’re not in school. We know that students who are suspended or expelled are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. We must #RethinkDiscipline. #RestorativeJustice
  • Implicit bias influences how school staff and police officers impose discipline. @usedgov must continue to help schools address bias so all children can succeed in a safe learning environment. #RethinkDiscipline
  • School exclusion will not make schools safer. Our best response to student behavior is prevention, not suspension. #RethinkDiscipline #RestorativeJustice
  • According to @usedgov, Black students make up 15% of the student population but 39% of those who received at least one out-of-school suspension. Students of color don’t misbehave more than their peers and shouldn’t be punished more either. #RethinkDiscipline.
  • Students of color do not misbehave more than their white peers. Yet, they are disciplined more often for minor, subjective offenses. We must address racial bias in schools and keep students of color in class. #RethinkDiscipline http://www.indiana.edu/~atlantic/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/African-American-Differential-Behavior_031214.pdf

Post Videos to Twitter:

  • We encourage students, parents, teachers, and advocates to record and tweet a short video (no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds) on their phone either discussing a personal experience with unfair school discipline practices and/or addressing why they think the Department of Education should support schools in addressing racial disparities in school discipline by maintaining the 2014 federal school discipline guidance.