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154 Civil Rights Groups Urge DeVos to Keep School Discipline Guidance

The letter was written to Secretary DeVos on Thursday on behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

154 Civil Rights Groups Urge DeVos to Keep School Discipline Guidance

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 153 local, state and national civil and human rights and educations groups wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Thursday, urging her to maintain the Department’s January 2014 guidance on nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline.

The disciplinary practice review encouraged by the guidance and released jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice benefits LGBTQ students, who are disproportionately subject to harsh and exclusionary school discipline practices, according to ACLU, one of the signers of the letter.

The 2014 guidance clarifies that the U.S. Department of Education expects that schools and districts are treating all children fairly and provides practical tools and guidelines for educators to create safe, supportive, and welcoming environments for all students.

“Rescinding the guidance would send the opposite message: that the Department does not care that schools are discriminating against children of color by disproportionately kicking them out of school and that the Department does not see itself as having a role in helping educators create and maintain safe schools that afford all students equal educational opportunities,” reads the letter.

The letter also says suspensions and expulsions are used disproportionately against children of color, children with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth. It also points to multiple studies which show the negative effects on suspended children.

The letter comes after DeVos’ testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee where members of Congress questioned her commitment to the civil rights of children of color.

The full letter can be found here.

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