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Communities In Schools Issues Response to School Safety Commission Report

Dec. 18, 2018

Communities In Schools (CIS), the national organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future,  today issued a statement in response to a final report released by the Federal Commission on School Safety (the Commission). The Commission was formed to study issues of school safety and make recommendations to keep students safe at school.  

“Communities In Schools welcomes the report’s focus on school climate and access to mental healthcare,” said CIS President and CEO Dale Erquiaga. “We are pleased to see the emphasis on prevention through positive relationships with adults and peers and social-emotional learning. Forty years of experience and our research demonstrate clearly that these efforts improve school connectedness and students’ belief that education has value for their lives. We hope that Congress will provide resources for schools to implement these important initiatives in the budget for fiscal year 2020."

Erquiaga added, “However, we are extremely disappointed by the recommendation that the U.S. Department of Education rescind guidance on school discipline that, among other things, protects the civil rights of students of color. The current guidance includes important federal guardrails that help teachers and schools address biases and administer discipline fairly.  

We are mindful that overwhelming data shows deep racial disparities in school discipline rates which must be addressed if all students are to feel safe and supported at school. Unless efforts to improve school safety are accompanied by efforts to reduce these disparities, all students cannot and will not feel safe while at school. We join many of our partners in strongly urging the Commission to reconsider this recommendation." 

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