John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest network dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, has issued the following statement in response to the forced U.S. Department of Education Decision to Rescind 2014 Discipline Guidance:
"America’s Promise Alliance is disappointed in the recommendation from the Federal Commission on School Safety that the U.S. Department of Education rescind the 2014 “Rethinking Discipline” guidance and urge Secretary Devos not to do so. The 2014 guidance encouraged safety and dignity over exclusion, and more importantly helped to create learning environments free from the racial inequities caused by exclusionary discipline – so all young people can thrive.
Research shows that exclusionary discipline as the only response to disruptive behavior not only does not create safer school environments, it also has negative impacts on young people and their futures. From this work, we believe disruptive behavior is a call for help and highlights the need to connect students with caring adults and supports.
Relying only on outdated methods of discipline only serves to perpetuate a cycle of violence, re-traumatize young people, and sustain the school-to-prison pipeline. Instead of turning back the clock, we must explore and address the root causes of misbehavior. Schools need the support of their districts and states so that they have the necessary resources and training to most effectively implement non-exclusionary practices, and the “Rethinking Discipline” guidance was a step in that direction.
Despite the recommendation from the commission, we are humbled and thankful that many schools, districts, and non-profit leaders across the country will continue the important work of creating safe and supportive learning environments where all young people can thrive."