State Attorneys General Call on Feds to Keep School Discipline Guidance that Protects Children of Color, Students with Disabilities, and LGBTQ Youth

Aug 29, 2018

August 29, 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: Miriam Rollin, mrollin@youthlaw.org, (202) 868-4783

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Attorneys General of ten states and the District of Columbia, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, have released a letter supporting the 2014 federal guidance on school discipline and strongly urging Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to rescind or weaken this crucial guidance. The guidance helps school districts develop disciplinary practices and policies that comply with federal civil rights laws.

Earlier this year the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Department of Education released findings that students of color, particularly African-American students, continue to be disproportionately disciplined. In their letter to Secretary DeVos and AG Sessions, the AGs warn that any effort to rescind or weaken the guidance would represent an abdication of the government’s responsibility to protect student civil rights.

In addition, the AGs note that school exclusion for disciplinary reasons has lasting impacts not only on individual students but on the states as well. Numerous studies confirm that students who are suspended or expelled lose instructional time, are less likely to graduate on time, and are more likely to drop out. For the states, higher numbers of drop outs mean lost wages and taxes, increased crime and higher social welfare costs.

Miriam Rollin, Director of the Education Civil Rights Alliance, welcomed the effort by state Attorneys General. “Significant racial disparities in suspension and expulsion show that too many of our schools are failing in their duty to create inclusive environments where our children of color can learn and thrive,” said Rollin.  She added “Our nation needs to be advancing racial equity in education, not further undermining it. We are grateful to these state Attorneys General for taking a stand to prevent key federal school discipline guidance from being rolled back.”

The Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington are the letter’s signatories. ECRA has been regularly convening state Attorneys General to discuss issues such as school discipline and other critical topics.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

###

About the Education Civil Rights Alliance
The Education Civil Rights Alliance is a diverse and experienced group of organizers, educator organizations, community groups, professional associations, civil rights organizations, and government agencies that are committed to protecting the civil rights of marginalized students.

The National Center for Youth Law is the convener of the Education Civil Rights Alliance.

For more information visit edrights.org