Dr. Kareem Crayton Named Permanent Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice

DURHAM, N.C. – The Board of Directors for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) has named Kareem Crayton, J.D., Ph.D. to serve as the organization’s permanent executive director.  Dr. Crayton has served as the organization’s interim director since January 2018.

 

“We are proud to name Dr. Kareem Crayton as the Executive Director of our organization,” said Ryan Roberson, Chair of SCSJ’s Board of Directors. “It is abundantly clear to the Board that Dr. Crayton is the right person to continue leading SCSJ forward.”

 

The announcement comes less than a week before the organization takes its second case in two years to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Next week’s case, Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina, is a partisan gerrymandering challenge to North Carolina’s congressional redistricting plan and could establish a national standard on how much partisanship in the redistricting process is too much.

 

“While I originally assumed the role of an interim leader to aid its transition, I am convinced that this pivotal moment in time in America makes the most sophisticated and mission-oriented work of civil rights advocates more crucial than ever,” said Dr. Kareem Crayton.  “SCSJ’s work remains vital to protect voting rights and to advocate for key reforms in the criminal justice and youth justice arenas as well. Our distinct brand of work as a community-centered organization has impact not only in the South but across the country.  I am therefore proud to continue leading this talented and creative team as it defines a story that is true to SCSJ’s original vision while drafting a new chapter in its second decade of service.”

 

Dr. Crayton is a respected scholar, expert, and consultant whose work centers on the intersection of law, politics, and race. He is the only academic in the United States in law and political science whose main work explores the relationship between race and politics in representative institutions.  A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Crayton is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science as well as a law degree from Stanford University.  Aside from managing a consulting firm that has engaged in election projects in a dozen states, Dr. Crayton has served on several university faculties, most recently Vanderbilt University Law School.

 

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SCSJ’s Allison Riggs Chosen as Oralist in North Carolina’s Partisan Gerrymandering Case

Case marks the second argument for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice at the U.S. Supreme Court

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Plaintiffs in Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina (LWVNC) will be represented by Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, when the case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26. This will be Ms. Riggs’ second oral argument before the Court.  She previously argued Abbott v. Perez in April 2018, a racial gerrymandering case out of Texas.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted a motion for divided argument earlier today. Plaintiffs in Rucho v. Common Cause, another partisan gerrymandering challenge from North Carolina that was combined with the LWVNC case, will be represented by another attorney.

More biographical information about Ms. Riggs is included below.

 

The following statements were issued following the announcement of Ms. Riggs being selected as the oralist in the case:

“The voters of North Carolina will be exceedingly well served by one of the brightest and most skilled advocates that we have in the civil rights bar.  Allison is fully prepared to make the best case for fair districts on behalf of our clients to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Kareem Crayton, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.  “This case highlights many issues, but the most significant of them is the right of American voters to control their government.  Allison is an ideal choice to explain why the erosion of the ability of people to be heard is an urgent concern this Court must address.”

 

“We are proud to be representing the League of Women Voters plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case challenging the egregious North Carolina congressional gerrymander.  Working with our co-counsel, we are working to make the best case we can about the need to rein in rampant partisan gerrymandering,” said Paul Smith, vice president of Campaign Legal Center and counsel of record in the case. “Co-counsel Allison Riggs, as a North Carolinian herself, truly understands the impact the state legislature’s egregious gerrymander has had on our democracy and will surely make a compelling oral argument to the Supreme Court.”

 

“The League of Women Voters of North Carolina is delighted to be working with Allison Riggs, who is an expert in voting rights litigation in North Carolina,” said Janet Hoy, co-president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina.  “Given Allison’s work in redistricting – and voting rights cases overall- we believe she is uniquely positioned to effectively and persuasively argue this case at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Aside from its potential national impact, this case can help restore integrity to the voting process in North Carolina and ensure that North Carolinians’ votes will matter.”

 

 

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina plaintiffs in the case, Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina. The Supreme Court will simultaneously hear a companion case, Rucho v. Common Cause.

 

 

Biographical information about Allison Riggs:

 

Allison Riggs leads the voting rights program at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice based in Durham, NC, an organization she joined in 2009.  Her voting rights work has been focused on fighting for fair redistricting plans, fighting against voter suppression, and advocating for electoral reforms that would expand access to voting.  She has litigated redistricting cases on behalf of State NAACP Conferences in Texas, Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina.

In 2016, she successfully challenged North Carolina’s Monster Voter Suppression Law, which the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined “target[ed] African-American voters with almost surgical precision.”  In 2018, she argued Abbott v. Perez, a Texas redistricting case in the United States Supreme Court.

Allison works closely with grassroots organizations and communities of color as they seek to advance their political and civil rights.  She received her undergraduate, Master’s Degree, and J.D. from the University of Florida.

Voters Challenge to State Voter ID Moves Forward

Wake County Superior Court Judge Sends Case to Three-Judge Panel

 

RALEIGH, N.C. – On Wednesday, Wake County Superior Judge Vince Rozier, Jr. issued an order that allows a state constitutional challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID law to move forward in front of a three-judge panel. Chief Justice Beasley will appoint the three members of the panel. The case was heard by Judge Rozier on March 4.  Plaintiffs in the case brought the challenge immediately after the voter ID enabling legislation went into effect when the Legislature overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto.

 

“We appreciate that the court recognized that the voters who brought their case deserve to have a full hearing in front of a three-judge panel,” said Allison Riggs, Senior Voting Rights Attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “We look forward to representing plaintiffs as they continue to challenge this discriminatory and unconstitutional law.”

 

All six of the claims brought forth by the plaintiffs will now proceed to the three-judge panel.  One part of a claim brought by plaintiffs was dismissed by the judge because none of the plaintiffs in the case who were under the age of sixty-five possessed an acceptable state-issued ID that was more than one year expired.

 

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is representing plaintiffs in the case, along with pro-bono counsel from the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  The Southern Coalition for Social Justice also represented plaintiffs who successfully challenged the state’s 2013 monster voter suppression law that was ultimately struck down by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

 

More information about this case and subsequent filings will be available at https://www.southerncoalition.org/voterid/

 

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North Carolina’s Partisan Gerrymandering Plaintiffs File Final Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Ahead of Oral Arguments Later This Month

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Plaintiffs in Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina filed their final brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today, just more than three weeks before the Court is slated to hear oral arguments in the partisan gerrymandering cases out of North Carolina and Maryland on March 26.  Lower court victories for the plaintiffs mark the first time an entire state’s congressional plan has been struck down for being an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

 

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina plaintiffs in the case, Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina. The Supreme Court will simultaneously hear a companion case, Rucho v. Common Cause.

 

The following statements were issued after today’s filing was made:

 

“This case cries out for intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court to rein in out-of-control partisan manipulation of the redistricting process,” said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for SCSJ.  “You’d be hard-pressed to find a more blatant example of voters being denied their constitutional rights to equal protection under the law and to free speech than the North Carolina’s 2016 congressional redistricting plan.  When legislators brag about their attempts to entrench themselves in political power and enact maps designed to guarantee election winners before a single vote is cast, courts are the only hope for a remedy.  These legislative actions are inconsistent with the basic principles of representative democracy that we hold so dear.”

 

“Citizens in all 50 states deserve to be able to choose their representatives – and not the other way around. This is why we need a national solution, and why we look forward to bringing the fight for fair maps to the U.S. Supreme Court this month,” said Paul Smith, vice president of CLC. “It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to act. They have a golden opportunity to enforce the Constitution in a manner that will rein in partisan gerrymandering – done by both parties – and create ground rules that safeguard the fundamental right of all Americans to have their vote count.”

 

“The League of Women Voters of NC is proud to be a plaintiff in this case that so clearly lays out the need for redistricting reform,” said Janet Hoy, co-president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina.  “We look forward to the time when NC will have constitutional districts and North Carolinians’ votes will count in  every election.”

 

 

The plaintiff’s briefs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and should soon appear on the case’s docket page located at https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/18-422.html

 

The brief can also be found at https://campaignlegal.org/document/rucho-v-league-women-voters-north-carolina-us-supreme-court-brief-appellees

 

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Legislative Leaders Decline to Appeal Ruling of Unconstitutional Redistricting in Wake County State House Districts

RALEIGH, N.C. – On February 15, 2019, legislative defendants filed a notice withdrawing their appeal of a Superior Court ruling that found the 2017 redistricting of four Wake County House districts to be unconstitutional.  In November 2018, a three-judge panel found that the redistricting changes violated the North Carolina Constitution’s prohibition on mid-decade redistricting.  The court’s order requires that legislators return the district lines to their previous configuration during this long legislative session.

 

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice represents plaintiffs in the case which include the North Carolina NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Democracy North Carolina, and the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute and four individual Wake County voters.

 

Allison Riggs, Senior Voting Rights Attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, issued the following statement after legislative defendants announced their intention to drop their appeal November’s decision:

 

“We appreciate the defendants’ decision drop their appeal. The public is better served by correcting constitutional infirmities than by a prolonged legal defense of patently illegal maps. It is still deeply troubling that the last election of the decade is the first and only one in which Wake County voters will have fully constitutional State House districts.  Voters deserve districts that do not discriminate against them based on their race, are not manipulated for partisan purposes, and do not violate their state constitutional rights.  We will continue to advocate for fair and legal redistricting and we will litigate on behalf of voters where necessary to hold legislators accountable.”

Racial Equity Report Cards Continue to Show Disparities in Achievement and Discipline

This year’s report cards include teacher diversity statistics for the first time

Durham, N.C. — The 2019 Annual Racial Equity Report Cards released by the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice reveal significant racial disproportionality across the state and in most individual school districts. The report cards use public data on academic achievement, school personnel, school discipline, and juvenile court involvement to provide a snapshot of a community’s school-to-prison pipeline, including any racial disproportionalities that exist in the pipeline. There is a Report Card for each of the state’s 115 school districts and one for the state as a whole.

“The racial disparities that persist in our schools are a tough pill to swallow, especially on the eve of a holiday celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.. However, we hope the Racial Equity Report Cards can serve as a launching point for community education and discussion,” said Peggy Nicholson, Director of the Youth Justice Project. “They are not meant as an attack on the critically important public institutions that serve our youth, but rather, as a call-to-action for students, parents, advocates, policymakers, and institutional stakeholders to collectively examine the causes of racial inequity in their community and develop solutions that will help young people, especially youth of color, avoid and escape the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Highlights from this year’s report cards include:

Teacher Diversity

This is the third year the organization has released the analyses, but it is the first year the cards have included statistics on teacher diversity. A diverse school staff representative of the student body is one important way to help equalize opportunities for students of color. A recent study revealed that low-income Black students in North Carolina who had at least one Black teacher in elementary school were significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college. Despite this, North Carolina’s teaching force remains disproportionately White. In 2017-18, 79% of the state’s teachers were White, even though only 48% of the state’s student population was White. White teachers are overrepresented in every NC school district when compared to the demographics of students.

According to a 2018 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Black students who had just one Black teacher by third grade were 13 percent more likely to enroll in college – and those who had two were 32 percent more likely to enroll in college.

Discipline

Throughout the state during the 2016-17 school year, Black students were 4.3 times more likely than White students to receive a short-term suspension. In seventeen school districts, Black students had an even higher risk (over 4.3 times more likely) of being suspended than their White classmates. While direct comparisons between districts are not always appropriate because of the variations in size and demographics of the district, the findings are nonetheless noteworthy.

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools, Black students were 7.5 times more likely than White students to receive a short-term suspension.

Lack of Data

“While the limited data we have is certainly troubling, the fact that there is still so much we don’t know raises even more concern,” said Nicholson. “There are many common sense metrics that educators and families deserve access to and that would help in assessing the true extent of this crisis; however, the state does not track and report them. For example, there is no statewide data collection or reporting on interactions between students and school police, even though this is a primary driver of the school-to-prison pipeline.”

At a minimum, the Youth Justice Project would like to see the state, through the Department of Public Instruction, begin tracking and publicly report the following data points:

  • Use of in-school suspension at the school and district level;
  • Out-of-school suspensions disaggregated by offense, grade, and length;
  • Assignments to alternative programs and schools; and,
  • School-based arrests and use of force incidents.

To view Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District’s racial equity report card, visit: http://youthjusticenc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2018-RERC-Charlotte-Mecklenburg.pdf

A complete list of Racial Equity Report Cards can be viewed on the Youth Justice Project’s website: http://youthjusticenc.org/our-work/racial-equity-report-cards/


The National Bureau of Economic Research study can be viewed here: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10630.pdf

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear North Carolina and Maryland Partisan Gerrymandering Challenges

Justices have an opportunity this term to ensure fair maps nationwide by striking down Republican and Democratic redistricting plans

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments in March 2019 in a challenge to North Carolina’s 2016 congressional map, which is one of the most egregious partisan gerrymanders in American history. It will also hear the Maryland challenge, in which Democrats discriminated against Republicans for their party affiliation in its 2011 maps, in March as well. Together, the cases have the potential to reshape future redistricting nationwide by limiting politicians’ ability to discriminate against voters who favor a minority party when those politicians draw electoral districts.

 

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and University of Chicago Professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos represent the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and 12 individual North Carolina plaintiffs in the case, League of Women Voters of North Carolina v. Rucho.  The Supreme Court will simultaneously hear a companion case, Common Cause v. Rucho, and it will hear the Maryland case, Benisek v. Lamone, this term.

 

“In North Carolina, Republican legislative leaders bragged that they were drawing a plan that advantaged Republicans to the maximum extent possible and discriminated against Democrats.  This kind of outrageous behavior most certainly crosses the line of constitutionality, and if the Supreme Court does not intervene, our democracy will pay the price,” said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the SCSJ.

If the Supreme Court rules that the state’s maps are unconstitutional, this victory could curtail the undemocratic practice of partisan gerrymandering nationwide. Last term, CLC’s Paul Smith argued Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Wisconsin’s gerrymandered Assembly maps. The Supreme Court sent both the North Carolina and Wisconsin cases back to district court with clear instructions.

 

“Voters nationwide are ready for a ruling from the Supreme Court that finally declares that they come first, not self-interested politicians,” said Paul Smith, vice president at CLC. “A supermajority of Americans – across ideological lines – want the Supreme Court to place limits on partisan gerrymandering. By striking down North Carolina and Maryland’s maps, the Supreme Court can send a message to the rest of the country that extreme partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, no matter which party does it. If the Supreme Court fails to set limits on this undemocratic practice, we will see a festival of copycat gerrymandering in 2020 the likes of which the country has never seen before.”

“Partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina has become so pervasive that the outcome of many elections is decided before a single vote is cast,” said Janet Hoy, co-president of the League of Women Voters of North Carolina. “We have full hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will rein in this undemocratic practice so that voters can have the fair elections they deserve and know that their vote matters.”

“The congressional districts across North Carolina are nothing less than a successful attempt to rig the system,” said Aaron Sarver, a plaintiff from Asheville, North Carolina. “If members of Congress can tell their Republican colleagues in Raleigh exactly which voters they want to ‘represent’ then we’re getting pretty close to telling people it’s not worth bothering to show up to vote because the election was decided the day the maps were drawn.”

With the case now to be decided this term, North Carolina voters could have fair and legal maps drawn in time to be used in the 2020 elections.

Read more about the case: Rucho v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina.

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Anita Earls

Statement Regarding the Investiture of Anita Earls to the North Carolina Supreme Court

RALEIGH, N.C. – Anita Earls was sworn in today as the 100th Justice to sit on the North Carolina Supreme Court in an investiture ceremony this afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Earls, founding Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, was elected to the seat in November.

Kareem Crayton, Interim Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, issued the following statement upon Anita Earls’ investiture:

“There simply would not be an SCSJ without the vision, energy, and commitment of Anita Earls to build an organization that has become a key force in effort to make the South a more equal, just and inclusive place for its citizens.  Thousands of people across this region are better off today because of the work she has led.  We at SCSJ remain grateful to her for all she has done and will carry on this work as she commences a different chapter in her storied pursuit of justice.  On behalf of SCSJ’s Board, staff and community partners, we heartily congratulate Justice Earls on this remarkable achievement and wish her all the best as she assumes office to work on behalf of all the people of North Carolina.”

Before founding the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Anita Earls served as a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department during the Clinton administration, a member of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and the University of Maryland.

Anita Earls graduated from Williams College and earned her law degree from Yale.

 

 

 

 

 

New North Carolina Voter ID Law Immediately Challenged by Voters

Six voters challenging the state’s new photo ID requirements filed a lawsuit minutes after the regulations became law.  The complaint was filed in Wake County Superior Court along with a motion requesting a preliminary injunction, asking the court to halt the implementation of the law until the case can be heard in court.  State lawmakers overrode Governor Cooper’s veto of S 824, Implementation of Voter ID Constitutional Amendment, on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 19, 2018, as part of a lame-duck legislative session in which several members who lost re-election voted in favor of the override.

The full complaint and the motion for preliminary injunction can be at https://www.southerncoalition.org/voterid/

“The North Carolina Constitution provides numerous and inviolable protections for the fundamental right to vote of all its citizens,” Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.  “Just because the North Carolina Constitution now authorizes, with exceptions, the presentation of a picture ID when voting does not mean those other longstanding protections can be ignored or violated.”

According to the lawsuit, the new law violates multiple provisions of the North Carolina Constitution by:

  • purposefully discriminating against and disproportionately impacting African-American and American-Indian qualified voters, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
  • unduly burdening the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
  • creating separate classes of voters, treated different with respect to their access to the fundamental right to vote, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause in Article 1, § 19;
  • imposing a cost on voting, in violation of the Free Elections Clause in Article I, § 10;
  • imposing a property requirement for voting, in violation of the Property Qualifications Clause in Article I, § 11; and,
  • impeding voters’ ability to engage in political expression and speech by casting a ballot, in violation of their Right of Assembly and Petition and Freedom of Speech as afforded by Article I, §§ 12 and 14.

“It is the legislature’s duty to balance competing demands in the State Constitution.  It has failed miserably in its exercise of balancing the new ID constitutional amendment, which explicitly allows for exceptions, with the numerous other state constitutional demands that have been interpreted to aggressively protect the right to vote, ” stated Allison Riggs.  “Any legislative scheme that requires voters to present ID when voting must have fail-safe measures to ensure that not one single eligible voter is disenfranchised.  Our State Constitution demands it.  This legislation does not do that.  It simply replicates a scheme that we know disenfranchised approximately 1,400 voters in the March 2016 primaries.”

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is representing plaintiffs in the case, along with pro-bono counsel from the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.  The Southern Coalition for Social Justice also represented plaintiffs who successfully challenged the state’s 2013 monster voter suppression law and was ultimately struck down by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Youth Justice Project: Federal Commission on School Safety Recommends Scrapping Anti-Discrimination Guidance Implemented During Obama Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Federal Commission on School Safety has released its final report, which includes a recommendation that the DOE and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) rescind guidance issued in 2014 aimed at ensuring educational agencies comply with federal obligations to administer student discipline without discriminating based on race, color, or national origin.  The guidance:

  • offers direction to school districts on the best ways to avoid discriminatory discipline practices;
  • explains the Office for Civil Rights’ Title VI and DOJ’s Title IV and Title VI investigative process, including the existing legal framework, evidence considered, and the types of remedies sought if violations are found;
  • provides hypothetical examples of school discipline policies/practices that may violate civil rights laws; and
  • equips school officials with an array of tools to support positive student behavior – thereby providing a range of options to prevent and address misconduct – that will both promote safety and avoid the use of discipline policies that are discriminatory or inappropriate.

Without the regulations on the books, schools would still not be allowed to discriminate against students based on race, color, or national origin; however, rescinding the guidance would remove valuable information schools use to comply with federal law. Students of color and students with disabilities are the groups most likely to experience the negative consequences of discriminatory discipline practices. In 2016-17, Black students in North Carolina were over four times as likely to receive a short-term suspension as their White peers.

“We know that students of color and students with disabilities face well-documented and continuing disproportionate levels of school exclusion through suspensions, expulsions, and informal removals,” said Peggy Nicholson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “Withdrawing the federal guidance as a resource would set schools up to fail students and fall back into practices that discriminate against students based on their race.”

The Youth Justice Project has filed several Title VI complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over the past few years alleging systemic discrimination against students of color in school discipline practices.  A complaint filed in Wake County (NC) in 2010 was recently resolved after the district and OCR entered a resolution agreement that requires the school system to make significant changes to its discipline policies and practices. A complaint filed in Lee County (FL) was settled earlier this year after the district agreed to revise its discipline practices and policies to address racial disproportionality.

“There is simply no good reason to scrap guidance that can help schools avoid discriminating against students.  There are outstanding complaints across the country that demonstrate the need for addressing racially discriminatory discipline in schools,” said Nicholson.

The Commission’s report included various other recommendations relating to school safety (click for Commission’s website). Some of these recommendations, such as urging states to provide resources to help schools create positive school climates and increasing mental health supports, are evidence-based and likely to improve overall safety. However, other recommendations in the report may actually worsen school safety and have unintended negative impacts on students, including the suggestion that school districts consider arming school staff and pour their limited resources into expensive physical security measures.

The Commission’s membership includes DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was the fourth member of the Commission until he resigned from his office.

“Rescinding the school discipline guidance would send multiple messages.  For schools that want help in ending discriminatory practices, rescission would tell them to look somewhere else and that they are on their own.  For students, taking away this guidance would send the message that the federal government may not be there to help if they are discriminated against.  This would be a big loss for students, families, and schools across the country,” said Ricky Watson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project.  “We have to ask who is helped by rolling back these guidelines, and the obvious answer is no one.  This doesn’t help kids.  This doesn’t help schools.  This doesn’t help our communities.  We need community groups and advocacy groups to step up now more than ever to be the advocates that these children need.”

The 2014 guidance for complying with non-discrimination laws can be found at http://bit.ly/2014Guidance

The Commision’s final report can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/documents/school-safety/school-safety-report.pdf?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=