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DeVos commission to mull Obama ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies

Greg Nash

A commission led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will reconsider the Obama administration’s guidance for school disciplinary policies. 

The White House announced Sunday within its new “hardening schools” proposal that DeVos will lead the new Federal Commission on School Safety and will consider whether to replace former President Obama’s “Rethink School Discipline” guidelines, according to USA Today.

The guidelines, which effectively discouraged schools from reporting misbehaving students to law enforcement, have been criticized following the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting last month. The suspect in the shooting had been been expelled from the school.

In a letter urging DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to put in place measures ensuring that violent students are reported to law enforcement, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized the 2014 guidance for placing the burden of discipline on teachers. 

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Teachers’ advocates, such as Catherine Lhamon, former Education Department assistant secretary for civil rights, have said repealing the guidelines for student discipline will not help protect schools from mass shootings, saying the Obama administration’s emphasis was on decreasing discriminatory discipline.

“It is completely divorced and should be completely divorced from how to address external shooters,” Lhamon told USA Today.

The commission comes as the president has waffled on which policies to pursue after the shooting in South Florida left 17 dead.

Rubio has also advocated for age limits for the purchase of rifles in the state. The gunman reportedly used a legally purchased AR-15 rifle in the shooting. 

Tags Betsy DeVos Florida shooting Gun control Jeff Sessions Marco Rubio school security
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