New York’s education policymakers pushed back Monday against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ decision to roll back Obama-era guidelines that aimed to reduce racial disparities in student discipline.
The Board of Regents passed a resolution emphasizing the state’s commitment to programs “that foster a culture and climate and are safe havens for learning; where every student feels welcome and free from bias, harassment, discrimination, and bullying.”
In December, a federal commission on school safety rescinded guidelines that were meant to curb racial discrimination when suspensions and expulsions are handed out. In a report, federal officials said the Obama-era rules may have led to more dangerous schools (and cited a stabbing at a Bronx middle school).
Among its recommendations, the new federal report suggested more access to mental health services for students, more training on how to prepare for an active shooter, and considering arming certain school personnel.
While the old guidance did not require school districts to adopt policies, scrapping those rules could influence how school districts make decisions about discipline.
The resolution cites research on racial and sexual orientation disparities in school discipline, and studies showing how exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions, don’t necessarily improve student behavior or school safety.
You can find the full resolution here.