WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 12, 2014
Dear Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder:
In January the departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance on school discipline to help prevent discrimination and slow down the "school-to-prison pipeline." The recommendations encourage schools to establish procedures to distinguish between disciplinary infractions appropriately handled by school officials and threats to school safety. Opposing discrimination is a shared goal. However, recognizing the complexity of school discipline policies, we believe such policies are best handled by the teachers, state officials, and local school leaders who are most equipped to assess the needs of individual students and the school community as a whole.
Across the country, local school leaders are working to reform and improve discipline policies. These experts understand appropriate school discipline is not only critical to a safe and orderly learning environment, but also a significant factor in a student's academic success. Teachers and school officials must have the flexibility to assess the situation and enforce the discipline policies fairly to promote school safety and address inappropriate behavior.
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