A “Dear Colleague Letter” dated December 18, 2018 was recently received by all LEAs informing them the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Education (USDE) are withdrawing the statements of Policy and Guidance reflected in the following documents:
- Dear Colleague Letter on Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline dated January 8, 2014; and
- Overview of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative dated January 8, 2014.
Additionally, the Department of Education is withdrawing the following related documents:
- Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline, dated January 8, 2014;
- Appendix 1: S. Department of Education Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources, dated January 8, 2014;
- Appendix 2: Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations for the 50 States, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, dated January 8, 2014; and
- School Discipline Guidance Package FAQs, dated January 8, 2014.
The Dear Colleague Letter on Nondiscriminatory Administration of Discipline (“Guidance”) discussed the legal framework that the Departments employ to analyze complaints of discrimination under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title IV), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000c et seq., and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d et seq., and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 100. Title IV authorizes the Attorney General in certain circumstances to institute a lawsuit against public school boards, colleges, and universities upon receiving a complaint of discrimination. Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by recipients of Federal financial assistance. The Guidance presented and analyzed, under Titles IV and VI, a number of factual scenarios involving the application of school discipline, and indicated what conclusions the Departments might reach in each scenario.
On March 12, 2018, President Trump announced the formation of a Federal Commission on School Safety. President Trump directed the Commission to study and make recommendations regarding several issues, including whether the Guidance and associated documents should be rescinded. On December 18, 2018, the Commission recommended that the Departments rescind the Guidance and associated documents.