Trump admin seeks to roll back Obama-era policy on school discipline: report

The Trump administration is poised to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at reducing racial disparities in the way children are disciplined in school, according to a New York Times report published Monday.

A federal commission in an upcoming report will argue that the Obama-era discipline policy encourages violence in schools, the Times said.
 
The commission in the draft report said the Obama administration “gave schools a perverse incentive to make discipline rates proportional to enrollment figures, regardless of the appropriateness of discipline for any specific instance of misconduct," according to the Times. 
 
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The report refers to policy statements from 2014 which sought to advise schools on how they could dole out disciplinary measures without disproportionately targeting racial minorities and disabled students, the Times reported.
 
As a result of the commission's findings, the Education Department is proposing to rescind those policies, according to a draft letter also reviewed by the Times.
 
The federal commission formed in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting last year will release its final recommendations this week. The Federal School Safety Commission was tasked with providing recommendations on how to reduce violence in schools but its recommendations do not address gun laws, according to the Times. The commission's report focuses on mental health, student support programs, and bettering school security, as well as the Obama-era disciplinary guidelines.

The draft report does not mention how the Obama-era discipline guidelines might have led to the Parkland, Fla. shooting, the Times reported. 

The report, which has not yet been finalized, argues in favor of rejecting the "disparate impact theory" promoted by former President Obama's Education Department. "Disparate impact theory" posits that policies should be reassessed if they have an outsized negative impact on minority groups, regardless of the policy's intention, according to the Times.

The commission's report calls this standard a "mere statistical disparity" and says it will act on allegations of racial bias when there is more substantial "evidence."

“When there is evidence beyond a mere statistical disparity that educational programs and policies may violate the federal prohibition on racial discrimination, this administration will act swiftly and decisively to investigate,” the commission wrote, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Times.

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