Department of Education Enforces Vital Nondiscrimination Rights for Students with Disabilities in School Discipline

Education News, Media 07.19.22


Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

WASHINGTON — Liz King, senior program director, education equity at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on school discipline guidance from the U.S. Department of Education:

“The historic release of joint school discipline guidance today from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is a needed step towards ensuring safe and inclusive school environments for all students. By clarifying the protections students with disabilities are entitled to under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Secretary Cardona has made clear that this Department of Education will fulfill its responsibility as a civil rights agency and ensure equal access to educational opportunity. 

“We look forward to working with students, families, educators, and the department to ensure the faithful implementation of the guidance and the promises made in our civil rights laws. Now, we call on the department to move swiftly to update and publish school discipline guidance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to clarify all students’ right to be free from racial discrimination. Every child deserves a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment where they have the chance to learn, grow, and thrive.” 

In May 2021, The Leadership Conference called on the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to strengthen and issue new guidance to ensure nondiscrimination of students in the context of school discipline. 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 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 member organizations, visit