The United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights published a request for information regarding the nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline. This is an opportunity to feedback related to the use of restraint, seclusion, suspension, expulsion, and corporal punishment.
Below are twelve recommendations that we have shared with the Office of Civil Rights and Secretary Cardona:
- We ask the OCR to include the full definition and clarification around the phrase “imminent danger of serious physical harm.”
- We ask that OCR provides guidance stating that seclusion should not be used under any circumstance in schools that receive federal funding (direct or indirect).
- We ask the OCR to expand the definition of seclusion. The current definition does not recognize the power differential between the adult(s) and the child.
- We ask that OCR provides guidance stating that prone and supine restraint should not be used under any circumstance in schools that receive federal funding (direct or indirect).
- We ask that OCR provides guidance stating that corporal punishment should not be used under any circumstance in schools that receive federal funding (direct or indirect).
- We ask OCR to provide annual guidance to local educational agencies on strategies to reduce and eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion.
- We ask that OCR and the United States Department of Education provide guidance to states and local educational agencies which is current with today’s brain science.
- We ask that OCR proactively address issues related to underreporting and misreporting. We believe that federal funding should be withheld from school districts that have been found to chronically underreport or misreport data.
- We ask that OCR review, quality-assure, and make data available to legislators and the general public within 6 months of completed data collection.
- We ask that OCR proactively analyze data related to restraint, seclusion, suspension, expulsion, and corporal punishment and that local educational agencies with the highest use (top 25%) should be investigated.
- We ask that OCR investigate local educational agencies that report zero instances of restraint and/or seclusion. OCR should contact LEAs and verify results within 60 days of data collection.
- We ask that OCR collect restraint and seclusion data for non-public or private placements in which public school students are placed through the IEP process.
See our complete recommendations.
Has your child been subjected to discriminatory discipline? Make your voice heard and provide feedback to the Office of Civil Rights. Tell them it is time to stop violating our children’s rights.
Tell OCR what you think: http://bit.ly/tellOCR
The Office of Civil Rights must receive your comments on or before July 23, 2021.