WASHINGTON – In the last days of 2018, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice rescinded the joint Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 119 state and national education and civil rights groups today sent a letter to the departments urging them to immediately state they will vigorously enforce our civil rights laws and respond to racial discrimination in school discipline.
The groups write in part:
“Students deserve, and the law requires, a Department of Education and a Department of Justice that are working to protect all students from discrimination and to provide an excellent education for all students. This guidance package provides valuable resources for districts, continued vigorous federal enforcement of the law, and is critical to making sure students’ civil rights are upheld. At such a tenuous time, when progress on school discipline has been too slow and too limited, rollback of this much needed guidance hampers progress and undermines children’s pursuit of their education. And when the nation is focused on the importance of building safe and inclusive school environments, rescinding the guidance sends exactly the wrong message. It is incumbent upon ED to ensure that progress continues, equal educational opportunity is real, and those who would seek to turn back the clock and undermine progress are stopped. We urge this administration to reverse course and provide educators and schools the resources and information they need to protect children and support their learning, development and success; not make it easier for them to unfairly and illegally exclude children of color from school.”
The letter can be read in its entirety here.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.