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Yes, Shut Down School to Prison Pipeline...And, Don’t Forget Students with Disabilities in the Plan!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall


COPAA proposes that every principal and teacher be trained in positive behavior intervention and support


WASHINGTON, DC – Denise Marshall, executive director of The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) released the following statement regarding Secretary Duncan’s proposal today to ‘bet on education over incarceration’: 

“COPAA applauds Secretary Duncan and the President in their acknowledgement that too few resources are invested in ensuring at-risk students, who through disciplinary action and other challenges in school end up in prison, are able to avoid pathways that lead to imprisonment. We agree that teachers and other school leaders need more resources to provide the instruction, support, and services that can make the critical difference in ensuring a student can succeed in school. However, we call on the Secretary to assure that the plan fully considers and includes students with disabilities because school data show that students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension (13%) than students without disabilities (6%). And, students with disabilities represent 25% of students arrested and referred to law enforcement, even though they are only 12% of the overall student population.”[i]


Marshall concluded, “We recommend that the Secretary include in this new plan the requirement that every principal and teacher receive training in positive behavior intervention and support (PBIS), as well as trauma informed and culturally sensitive training. Both research and practice show that where schools and districts have made this investment, there has been a significant reduction in school disciplinary actions and a rise in academic outcomes. Along with additional financial resources we know schools need, we see this as a critical addition and hope the Secretary will include it as a central component in the plan.”

[i] Civil Rights Data Collection, (2014). U.S. Department of Education, retrieved at: http://ocrdata.ed.gov/Downloads/CRDC-School-Discipline-Snapshot.pdf

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