ACLU Statement on Call for Repeal of Obama-era School Discipline Guidance

December 18, 2018 1:15 pm

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NEW YORK — The Trump administration Commission on School Safety today called for the repeal of Obama-era federal guidance on school discipline. The guidance is intended to address racial disparities in school discipline against the backdrop of a nationwide problem of school systems disciplining students of color and students with disabilities more harshly. The Department of Justice and Department of Education are expected to formally repeal the guidance this week.

Sarah Hinger, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Program, issued the following response:

“Following the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Trump administration established a Federal Commission on School Safety, but rather than grapple with real measures needed to keep students safe, the commission was tasked with considering repeal of the nondiscriminatory school discipline guidance. The Trump administration is exploiting tragedies to justify rolling back school children’s civil rights protections, despite the lack of any evidence linking school discipline reform to school shootings.

“Repealing this guidance will not make schools safer and sends a message that for students of color and students with disabilities, the Department of Education is no longer committed to its mission to protect the civil rights of students and promote educational excellence through vigorous enforcement of civil rights in our nation’s schools.

“The ACLU will continue to push back on the administration’s use of students as a political tool and call for real solutions to protect students’ safety.”

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