January 4, 2018

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Trump Administration Rescinds 2014 Discipline Guidance

On December 21st, the U.S. Department of Education in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice officially revoked the 2014 School Discipline Guidance. A nonbinding document, the guidance suggested that schools could be in violation of civil rights laws if they disciplined students of color at higher rates than other students. Earlier in the week, the Federal School Safety Commission Report indicated the Administration would be rescinding this guidance.

 An AASA survey of 950 school district leaders conducted in April found that just 16 percent had modified their discipline policies and practices because of the guidance. Less than 1 percent of all respondents found that the guidance had a negative impact on school personnel's ability to administer discipline, while 7 percent said it had a positive impact. In our survey’s conclusion we wrote “The 2014 discipline guidance itself has not been transformative in changing discipline policies and practices for districts.” Given the limited impact the guidance has had on district discipline policies and practices AASA did not feel it was appropriate to weigh in on whether the guidance should stay in place ore be rescinded. Regardless of the guidance, districts have the same obligation to abide by civil rights laws, address discriminatory discipline practices, and are free to adopt policies on their own that mirror the approach recommended by the 2014 guidance.  

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