Today, the Federal Commission on School Safety issued a final report that calls for stronger discipline policies and more police presence in schools, a move similar to the ‘zero tolerance’ policies of the early 2000s that only served to exacerbate the inequitable ways in which youth of color, trans and queer youth, and youth with disabilities are mistreated in educational institutions across the United States.
We are disgusted that the Federal Commission on School Safety, a commission tasked by DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos to make sound recommendations that will benefit all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, and income level, instead chose to rescind federal guidance from the Obama administration that encourages schools to rethink their school discipline policies in a way to promote sustainably safe and equitable learning environments for all students.
GSA Network remains committed to reforming punitive school discipline policies that have historically and disproportionately harmed trans and queer youth of color in schools and have proven to push them out of schools and into juvenile detention centers. For nearly 10 years, we have worked in partnership with educational justice organizations throughout the country to end school pushout and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, while advocating for restorative justice practices that build stronger schools and communities. We have intentionally worked at the intersection of LGBTQ+, racial and educational justice to make schools more equitable for those students who already face significant roadblocks to access safe school environments.
In 2019, trans and queer youth will continue to fight for schools that free not just from violence but also free from harsh and disparate disciplinary practices. We will keep working to make schools places where all students can learn, grow, and thrive.