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June 15, 2021Advocacy Matters

U.S. Department of Education Public Comment Request on School Discipline

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

#AdvocacyMatters Segment

U.S. Department of Education Public Comment Request on School Discipline

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a request for written comments related to the administration of school discipline in schools serving students in pre-K through grade 12.  The notice is part of the implementation of Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to equity as set out in President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. 

Multiple studies have shown that students of color with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by school discipline policies, often pushing students into the school-to-prison pipeline.  Disability Rights Pennsylvania has a link to a 2019 report on school discipline by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission as part of our #AdvocacyMatters segment on our website at 

The Department of Education is not seeking comment on the status or handling of complaints filed with the Office of Civil Rights.  The Department is looking specifically for information, research or suggestions on school discipline that address one or more questions.  For the complete list of questions, you can visit and view our #AdvocacyMatters for today.  To find the show segment for today, just visit our homepage and scroll down to today’s show. 

  1. What are your views on the usefulness of current and previous guidance OCR and CRT have issued on school discipline? 
  2. What ongoing or emerging school discipline policies or practices are relevant to you or the communities you serve, including any that you believe raise concerns about potentially discriminatory implementation or effects on students’ access to educational opportunities based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability? 
  3. What promising practices for the administration of nondiscriminatory school discipline or creating positive school climates have you identified? 
  4. What are your views on this non-exhaustive list of disciplinary policies, practices?  The notice lists 9 examples. 
  5. What types of guidance and technical assistance can OCR provide to best help State and Local Education Agencies create positive, inclusive, safe, and supportive school climates and identify, address, and remedy discriminatory student discipline policies and practices? 
  6. What promising practices that have reduced the use of discipline or the disparities in the use of discipline between different groups of students should OCR consider highlighting in any future guidance or resource materials? 
  7. How do school discipline policies impact a students’ opportunity to learn? 
  8. To what extent can hiring and professional development practices be designed and aligned to ensure that teachers and staff are adequately prepared to manage classrooms and work with students in a fair and equitable manner? 
  9. Describe any data collection, analysis, or record-keeping practices that you believe are helpful in identifying and addressing disparities in discipline. 


Public comment must be received by the U.S. Department of Education on or before July 23, 2021.  Individuals are encouraged to submit their comments electronically through the federal eRulemaking Portal.  That address is  Individuals can also submit comments by mail if they do not have internet access. 



Federal Register Notice  

President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government 

The U.S. Civil Rights Commission’s Report on School Discipline