School Safety Report Calls for End to Obama Discipline Guidance

CT Mirror
December 18, 2018

A federal commission created after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recommends rescinding Obama-era policy aimed at reducing racial discrimination when students are disciplined.

The 177-page Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety, released Tuesday, also encourages schools “to seriously consider partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel.”

“Teachers don’t want this. Parents don’t want this. Only Betsy DeVos, President Trump, and the gun industry think the best way to stop a school shooting is to load schools up with guns,” said Sen. Chris Murphy. “Arming teachers and rolling back school discipline reforms won’t make our kids any safer. It’s nonsensical and dangerous.”

In recent years, the state of Connecticut has made it more difficult for local school districts to expel or suspend students from school for non-violent offenses. And when students are expelled, the state board of education has set standards for the alternative education they must be offered instead, along with requirements for how to return to school without delay. State laws were also changed to prohibit youth from being arrested and referred to criminal court for skipping school.

Leon Smith, director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy’s Racial Justice Project, which advocated for the Obama-era reforms, said the panel’s recommendations are worrisome.

“It just brushes aside widespread data that shows students of color are disciplined and arrested at disproportionate rates,” he said. “They are falsely connecting children being treated fairly with schools being less safe.”  read story

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