Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
School Climate & Safety News in Brief

Hands Off Guidance, Officials Say

By Andrew Ujifusa — September 04, 2018 1 min read

The Obama administration’s school discipline guidance helps protect students’ civil rights and addresses discriminatory practices, attorneys general from 11 states have told U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

In a letter, the top law-enforcement officials urged DeVos not to rescind the guidance, which the Department of Education issued in 2014.

DeVos has been weighing whether to rescind the guidance, which informed schools that they may be found in violation of federal civil rights laws if they enforce intentionally discriminatory rules or if their policies lead to disproportionately higher rates of discipline for students of color. Supporters of the guidance point to a Government Accountability Office report that black students are consistently disciplined at higher rates than students in other groups.

But critics charge that it puts an onerous and unfair burden on school leaders. They’ve also told DeVos that out-of-school factors help explain why black students are disciplined at disproportionate rates in school. The guidance has also been pulled into heated debates over school safety, especially after a former student at a Parkland, Fla., school was charged with killing 17.

However, the guidance was issued a year after a separate, controversial discipline initiative was launched in the Broward County district that’s been hotly debated since the shooting. The suspected Parkland shooter was referred briefly to the district’s discipline program, although some have argued he should have been arrested instead.

In their letter, the attorneys general tell DeVos that the guidance has helped her department fulfill its broad obligation to protect students from discrimination based on race, color, sex, disability, national origin, and other factors.

“In short, exclusionary discipline harms students,” the letter says. “Additionally, discrimination contributes to a racial gap in administration of this discipline. The guidance was issued to help schools address just these issues, and to rescind it now, despite continuing disparities and other challenges, would be counterproductive and harm our students, our schools, and our states.”

The officials represent Democratic strongholds like California and New Jersey, as well as states with divided governments like Illinois, Iowa, and Massachusetts.

A version of this article appeared in the September 05, 2018 edition of Education Week as Hands Off Guidance, Officials Say

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Opinion Teaching's 'New Normal'? There's Nothing Normal About the Constant Threat of Death
As the bizarre becomes ordinary, don't forget what's at stake for America's teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Justin Minkel.
4 min read
14Minkel IMG
Gremlin/E+
School Climate & Safety Letter to the Editor Invisibility to Inclusivity for LGBTQ Students
To the Editor:
I read with interest “The Essential Traits of a Positive School Climate” (Special Report: “Getting School Climate Right: A Guide for Principals,” Oct. 14, 2020). The EdWeek Research Center survey of principals and teachers provides interesting insight as to why there are still school climate issues for LGBTQ students.
1 min read
School Climate & Safety As Election 2020 Grinds On, Young Voters Stay Hooked
In states like Georgia, the push to empower the youth vote comes to fruition at a time when “every vote counts” is more than just a slogan.
6 min read
Young people celebrate the presidential election results in Atlanta. Early data on the 2020 turnout show a spike in youth voting, with Georgia, which faces a pair of senatorial runoffs, an epicenter of that trend.
Young people celebrate the presidential election results in Atlanta. Early data on the 2020 turnout show a spike in youth voting, with Georgia, which faces a pair of senatorial runoffs, an epicenter of that trend.
Brynn Anderson/AP
School Climate & Safety Opinion The Pandemic Is Raging. Here's How to Support Your Grieving Students
What do students who have experienced a loss need in the classroom? Brittany R. Collins digs into the science.
Brittany R. Collins
5 min read
13Collins IMG
Benjavisa Ruangvaree/iStock