(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U.S. Department of Education formally announced that it will delay implementation of a rule aimed at protecting students of color and students with disabilities from discriminatory discipline. The rule, put in place by the Obama administration, would help ensure schools identify and address any troubling pattern of disproportionate representation of children of color in special education programs or of unfair discipline of students with disabilities.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President of Education and Workplace Justice of the National Women’s Law Center:
“Once again, the Department of Education has turned its back on our country’s students, refusing to give teeth to their civil rights to be free from discrimination on the basis of race and disability. Students of color are too often inappropriately funneled into special education, denying them an appropriate education—and students who do have disabilities are too often punished for who they are. Recent data from the Department of Education shows 8.4 percent of girls with disabilities received one or more out-of-school suspensions compared to 2.8 percent of girls without disabilities—and Black girls with disabilities are 3.5 times more likely than white girls with disabilities to be suspended. The Department’s decision to delay rules that would address these injustices show Betsy DeVos and her agency have abdicated their responsibility to protect our students. We won’t let them get away with that.”