We are disappointed that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education have rescinded federal guidance regarding school discipline. The guidance was designed to reduce exclusionary practices and foster positive social, behavioral, emotional, and academic success for all students — especially students of color and students with disabilities, who are more likely to be suspended or expelled than their peers.
The guidance included evidenced-based frameworks and strategies that parents, teachers, and school leaders have seen to be effective in improving overall school climate and safety. The federal government is uniquely positioned to provide these resources and advance policies and behaviors that foster safe, positive school climates while limiting unnecessary and exclusionary discipline practices that too often harm students who are most in need of support.
School leaders — including the nearly 4,000 members of the New Leaders community — are responsible for providing safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for teachers and students, alike. We believe the rescission of school discipline guidance sends a deeply troubling message that the federal government will look the other way as children across the country are subject to inequitable discipline practices that deprive them of valuable learning time and access to critical behavioral and emotional supports. This message is contrary to our shared commitment to equity.
Further, rescinding the guidance eliminates an important set of resources that parents, teachers, and school leaders have relied on to help them make research-based decisions about how to best support students while building safe and nurturing environments that help all children grow and thrive, in school and wherever their aspirations take them.
We urge the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider this decision.