Department of Education enforces vital rights of non-discrimination for students with disabilities in school discipline


Contact: Mattie Goldman, [email protected]

WASHINGTON – Liz King, Senior Program Director, Education Equity at the Leaders’ Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on school discipline guidance from the United States Department of Education:

“The historic release of the Joint School Discipline Guidelines today by the Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services is a necessary step in ensuring safe school environments. and inclusive for all students. In clarifying the protections to which students with disabilities are entitled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Secretary Cardona made it clear that this Ministry of Education will fulfill its responsibility as a civil rights agency and ensure equal access to educational opportunity.

“We look forward to working with students, families, educators, and the department to ensure the faithful implementation of the advice and promises made in our civil rights laws. Now we call on the department to act quickly to update and release school discipline guidelines under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to clarify the right of all students to be free from racial discrimination. Every child deserves a safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environment where they have the chance to learn, grow and thrive.

In May 2021, the leadership conference called directs the Civil Rights Office of the Department of Education and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to strengthen and issue new guidelines to ensure non-discrimination of students in the context of school discipline.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 230 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all people in the United States. The Leadership Conference works for an America that lives up to its ideals. For more information about the Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

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Helen D. Jessen