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News & Press: Policy

School Safety Commission Report Fails Students with Disabilities, Students of Color

Tuesday, December 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall

Today, in response to the release of the Federal Commission on School Safety report and its recommendations, Denise Marshall, executive director, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) released the following statement:

On the heels of so many actions that deny and oppress, we are simply appalled at yet another maneuver by this Administration that fails our children. The report and its recommendations do nothing to support students with disabilities when the data has shown for decades there is disparate treatment. Ignoring the facts and failing to take meaningful action amounts to deliberate discrimination. 


While we are pleased to see an emphasis on mental health counseling, reducing bullying and building positive school climate,  we fear that the over emphasis on "control and order" and the recommendation to rescind the discipline guidance that outlines best practices and provides tools and resources will undermine and derail attempts at creating positive environments for marginalized and at-risk students. There is no evidence the federal discipline guidelines had a causal relationship to Parkland or any other school massacre. In fact, students were often pushed out, denied services, and were dismally failed by the system meant to provide them support.”


Marshall concluded, “The report misses the mark to harness the power of research-based tools and best practices to support the whole child to succeed. We once again urge Secretary DeVos not to rescind the discipline guidance and instead take action that keeps all students safe in positive schools prepared to address the root causes of the disparate treatment of students with disabilities and students of color so that they can remain in school and receive the services and supports they need to learn and succeed.”

Read the full Safety Commission Report. 



COPAA is an independent, nonprofit organization of parents, attorneys, advocates, and related professionals. COPAA members nationwide work to protect the civil rights and secure excellence in education on behalf of the 6.5 million children with disabilities in America. COPAA’s mission is to serve as a national voice for special education rights and is grounded in the belief that every child deserves the right to a quality education that prepares him or her for meaningful employment, higher education and lifelong learning, as well as full participation in his or her community.

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