The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a new report on Tuesday, July 23 titled, “Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connections to the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities” calling on the Trump Administration to replace the Obama Administration 2014 school discipline guidance.
The comprehensive 224-page report examines how federal laws and policies designed to protect students of color and students with disabilities from discrimination in school discipline practices and whether the federal enforcement of these laws is adequate. The Commission investigation of school discipline practices and policies impacting students of color with disabilities and the possible connections to the school-to-prison pipeline examined the rates of exclusionary discipline, researched whether discipline policies unlawfully target students of color with disabilities, and analyzed the federal government’s responses and actions on the topic.
Catherine Lhamon, Chairwoman of the Commission, stated that “As the Commission documents, discrimination based on race and disability in school discipline practices has plagued education across the United States for decades and can wreak significant harm on students and school communities. As the Commission urges, the nations’ students deserve aggressive enforcement of federal civil rights laws designed to protect against these harms.”
Key findings from the report concluded that students with disabilities and of color are disproportionately disciplined compared to their peers. Data from the Department of Education indicates that a sworn law enforcement officer (SLEO) is more likely to be at in a school than a school counselor and that schools reported more than 27,000 school resource officers compared to 23,000 social workers in the 2015-16 academic year. The report offers recommendations based on expert and public input, as well as extensive research and analysis.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is a federally funded independent body tasked with making recommendations to the president and Congress on civil rights issues. To access the report, click here.