Ensuring Adoption of U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, Guidance on School Discipline & Follow Up on All Cases Referred by the Schools to Juvenile Courts
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Civil Rights (DOJ/OCR), on January 8,2014 issued a guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools in meeting their obligations under Federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin; and
WHEREAS, a significant number of students are removed from class each year - even for minor infractions of school rules- due to exclusionary discipline practices which disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, public elementary and secondary schools should evaluate their discipline policies and practices with an eye to reducing the number of students referred to juvenile courts and reducing the number of students suspended, especially for trivial violations; and
WHEREAS, such public elementary and secondary school evaluations or reevaluations of their discipline policies and practices should be made with an understanding of the DOJ/OCR student discipline guidelines; and
WHEREAS, some students whose school discipline cases are before Juvenile Courts may remain out of school pending decisions by the Courts on their cases; and
WHEREAS, schools should understand their civil rights obligations and strive to ensure fairness and equality for all students by continuously evaluating the impact of their discipline policies and practices on all students using data analysis; and
WHEREAS, public elementary and secondary schools can and should take internal actions to creatively bring most of those students back into school settings, whether the Courts have finally acted on the cases or not; and
WHEREAS, when Juvenile Courts indicate that students suspended or expelled from school should return to school, and school and court officials must work together to ensure the speedy or prompt return of such students to school.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that school systems and Juvenile Courts work to establish Memorandum Of Understanding's that clarify roles and areas of responsibility, processes, scope of work, staffing and leadership, and lines of communication needed to ensure that students are returned to class as soon as possible; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that NAACP advocate for the adoption of the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education policy on school discipline and urge public elementary and secondary schools and Juvenile Courts to take action and return students referred to Juvenile Courts to the classroom as soon as possible.