Students should be in class, not handcuffs. Yet millions of students are removed from classrooms each year for minor misbehavior, and the data clearly show that students of color and students with disabilities are suspended at much higher rates than their peers. Once suspended, students are more likely to drop out of school and be incarcerated.
The progress we’ve made dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline over the last few years could be stopped dead in its tracks if U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinds guidance that helps teachers address student discipline without discriminating.
Some politicians have incorrectly blamed gun violence in schools on this federal guidance, and now DeVos is even closer to rescinding it. This guidance helps teachers and schools reduce exclusionary discipline like suspensions. As an alternative, the guidance encourages proactive approaches to address the causes of misbehavior and hold students accountable in the inevitable cases when students make the wrong choices, known as restorative practices.
Rescinding this guidance would be a major setback for students, and for teachers who are committed to implementing evidence-based strategies that address the root causes of student misbehavior and ending discipline disparities in our schools.
Take immediate action and urge Secretary DeVos to keep this crucial guidance in place because students should be in class, not cuffs.