WASHINGTON — The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is deeply troubled by the Federal School Safety Commission report’s failure to provide evidence-based strategies that will protect our children in school. Specifically, we oppose its recommendation to rescind the 2014 school discipline guidance. Research indicates that students of color and students with disabilities are disciplined at higher rates than other students, especially in the use of suspension and expulsion.
The 2014 guidance is integral to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all. Without the guidance, schools are less equipped to implement positive and preventative measures. As a result, students are vulnerable to bias, excluded more often, and lose out on educational opportunity. Moreover, the impact of suspension and expulsion is not only felt by the student. It is also felt by the parent who must find support outside of school for their child. It is felt by the teacher who must make up for lost instructional time and help the student achieve at grade level. It is felt by the juvenile justice system that is more likely to interact with the student who is out of school and unsupervised. Our failure to confront this persistent problem, places an undue burden on families, schools, and our criminal justice system. The guidance helps schools deal with it in meaningful ways and it should not be rescinded.
NCLD stands with the parents, teachers, students, and communities that believe all children should be treated fairly in schools. We encourage all who believe the U.S. Department of Education should be enforcing our nation’s federal civil rights laws in an equitable and just manner to speak out.
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