Today, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice released the first-ever significant guidance document on school discipline to help schools meet their legal obligations.
To mark the unveiling, CEC’s Associate Executive Director of Policy and Advocacy, Deb Ziegler, attended the event to release the guidance package with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. While school violence has decreased over the years, many schools are still struggling to create positive, safe environments. As we have previously reported, students with disabilities, particularly African-American males with disabilities, have been disproportionately impacted by discipline procedures. Today’s guidance states that although African-American students represent 15% of the student body they make up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of those suspended more than once, and 36% of student expelled.
The just released school discipline guidance package seeks to assist states, districts and schools in developing practices and strategies to address discipline policies, ensure those policies and practices comply with federal law, and enhance school climate.
The resource package consists of five sections:
- Dear Colleague Letter
- Guiding Principles
- The Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources
- The Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations
- An Overview of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative (launched in 2011)
The guidance package also results from President Obama's Now is the Time proposal to reduce gun violence. It called on ED to collect and disseminate best practices on school discipline policies and to help school districts develop and equitably implement their policies.
To view the guidance packet, visit the U.S Department of Education’s school climate and discipline page. State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies and schools may also request a copy of the package by calling Education Publications at (877) 433-7827.