Today, the Federal Commission on School Safety recommended rescinding guidance intended to reduce discrimination in school discipline that disproportionately affects LGBTQ students, students of color, and students with disabilities, among others. Today’s decision does not change federal anti-discrimination law, and students remain protected based on race, ethnicity, sex, and disability. However, by undoing this guidance, the Commission is failing to address the issue of school safety for our most vulnerable students.
Research provides evidence that LGBTQ students are disproportionately subjected to harsh and exclusionary school discipline practices. In 2015, almost two thirds (62.8%) of LGBTQ students had experienced some form of discipline, such as principal referrals, detention, in-school or out-of-school suspension, or expulsion, compared to less than half (45.8%) of non-LGBTQ students.
If these recommendations to rescind the guidance are adopted, it would be the latest in a series of anti-LGBTQ actions by the Department of Education, which include rolling back protections for transgender students, and narrowing of the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX.