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Watchdog report challenges Trump administration school safety recommendations

Education Dive |

  • The Government Accountability Office released a report calling into question the Trump administration’s overturning of Obama-era “Rethink School Discipline” guidance meant to curb the disproportionate impact of punitive school discipline policies on students of color. The guidance favored the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students over suspensions and expulsions in order to make school environments more equitable. 
  • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice axed the “Dear Colleague” letter, shortly after President Donald Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety released a report saying the Obama administration’s efforts to address racial disparities in school discipline policies made schools unsafe.
  • The GAO report debunks that claim, finding most school-targeted shootings take place in higher-income, low-minority areas, and that there was no research from 2009-2019 examining any connection between school discipline policies and school shootings.