Civil Rights Groups Urge Biden Administration to Enforce Vital Nondiscrimination Rights in School Discipline
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]
WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund, joined by 38 national civil and human rights organizations, called on the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to update and publish guidance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to clarify that all students have the right to be free from racial discrimination in the administration of school discipline. While the groups are encouraged by the earlier release of guidance clarifying schools’ obligations not to discriminate in school discipline on the basis of disability, strengthening and issuing new Title VI guidance is essential to ensuring all students are free from racial discrimination in school discipline.
“The historic release of joint school discipline guidance in July 2022 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services was 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 and the IDEA, Secretary Cardona made clear that ED will fulfill its responsibility as a civil rights agency and ensure equal access to educational opportunity. We applaud this effort and urge both agencies to uphold their commitment to enforce civil rights laws and meaningfully respond to racial discrimination in school discipline by updating and publishing the Title VI school discipline guidance,” the letter states.
The letter adds: “As organizations committed to the fair and appropriate treatment of all children in all settings, we continue to press for changes to policy and practice — and for solutions and strategies to create positive school climates where there are meaningful improvements to school safety, including a positive learning environment, improved student engagement, and healthy interpersonal relationships. We urge you to join in the call for safe, inclusive, and healthy schools by updating and publishing school discipline guidance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to clarify all students’ right to be free from racial discrimination.”
Read the full joint letter here.
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 www.civilrights.org.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal and state policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit civilrights.org/edfund/.