NAACP Applauds Federal Guidance Package that Improves School Discipline PoliciesJanuary 08, 2014
The U.S. Department of Education in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice today released a school discipline guidance package that will assist states, districts and schools in developing practices and strategies to enhance school climate, and ensure those policies and practices comply with federal law.
The NAACP has been on the frontlines of closing the school to prison pipeline. In November of 2013, the NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Chapter brokered a historic collaborative agreement on school discipline with Broward County Public Schools, law enforcement and its community partners to end the school to prison pipeline wreaking havoc in communities of color.
Our work in Broward County establishes proven alternatives to arrest for misdemeanor infractions by students that include common sense approaches such as counseling and mentorship. The guidance package released today expands on this approach.
Each year, significant numbers of students miss class due to suspensions and expulsions for minor infractions of school rules. The new guidance package, like the NAACP’s collaborative agreement in Broward County, provides resources for creating safe and positive school climates, which are essential for boosting student academic success and closing achievement gaps.
From NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller:
“The NAACP applauds Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan for taking this giant step in improving the disciplinary policies that impede the educational growth and development of students across the country, particularly in communities of color,” said Lorraine C. Miller, Interim President and CEO of the NAACP. “Like the historic agreement that the NAACP brokered in Broward County, this school discipline guidance package promotes effective discipline policies that help to plug the school-to-prison pipeline and create safer learning environments without excessive expulsions and suspensions.”
From Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Criminal Justice Director for the NAACP:
“Too many children in this country lose too much learning time due to excessive suspensions and expulsions for routine adolescent misbehavior,” said Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Criminal Justice Director for the NAACP. “The collaborative agreement brokered by the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County NAACP Chapter preserved the futures of scores of children who misbehave as young people sometimes do. Today’s discipline guidance package will go a long way in curbing the destructive pipeline that funnels children from school into prison and alters the trajectory of their lives forever.”
From Marsha Ellison, President of the NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Chapter:
“Disciplinary policies that rely too heavily on suspensions and expulsions have failed to improve the disciplinary culture of our schools,” said Marsha Ellison, president of the NAACP’s Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Chapter. “For eight years, we worked to close the school to prison pipeline in Broward County. Our success saved Broward County children from the type of disciplinary action that leads to criminal records and prevents them becoming the successful adults they deserve to be. We are encouraged by the steps being taken by the federal government to close the school to prison pipeline for children across the country, just as we did in Broward County.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.