Education & Children's Issues

May 18, 2018: Things We Don’t Need: Thoughts and Prayers and Newly Established Commissions

Posted on May 18, 2018 at 12:00 AM

In early April, the Trump administration established a federal commission led by Secretary Betsy DeVos to look at “ideas” on how to prevent more school shootings.

Preliminary reports suggest this commission might only rubber stamp current proposals that are already endorsed by the administration, such as raising the minimum age required to buy a gun, increasing mental health access, and repeal of regulations concerning racial disparity in school discipline that were adopted by the Obama administration.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) believes the Obama administration’s “Rethink School Discipline”has led to “chaos” in the schools. He points out this guidance in 2014 has “discouraged schools from referring students to local law enforcement.” Critics, however, are concerned that emphasis on protecting schools from gun-wielding individuals should not be considered in conjunction with daily matters such as school discipline. The two issues, school discipline and gun control should not be conflated. They are concerned about students’ civil rights and point out that in the US, school suspensions from preschool through high school disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities.

–Dianna E. Washington, Ph.D.,

Chair, Education and Children’s Issues Task Force

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