AASA Statement on School Climate and Discipline Guidance Release by U.S. Depts. of Justice, Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – Jan. 8, 2014 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement in response to today’s School Climate and Discipline Guidance Release.

“AASA thanks the U.S. Department of Education for providing helpful resources school systems can use to improve their discipline practices and policies. Addressing these issues are critical levers for meaningful change.

“Superintendents recognize that out-of-school suspension is outdated and not in line with 21st-century education. They also know the shift toward alternatives can be slow-going. Resistance can make implementing alternatives a difficult course to chart for school leaders. Meanwhile, funds to improve school climate and train school personnel in alternative school discipline can be scarce in today’s economic climate. Unfortunately, federal funding, once available to districts to address school discipline and school climate issues, was zeroed out in 2011.

“AASA believes some districts may struggle with the new guidance. That’s why we are hosting a webinar for superintendents on Jan. 24, 2014, to ensure school leaders understand the standards they must now meet to ensure compliance with the guidance.

“We are proud of the work school superintendents are doing across the country to reduce the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of students of color and students with disabilities. We are excited to partner with the Children’s Defense Fund to work directly with the following five districts, so even greater strides can be made in improving their school discipline practices: Harrisburg School District (Penn.), Houston Independent School District (Texas), Racine Unified School District (Wis.), U-46 School District (Elgin, Ill.) and Woodland Hills School District (Penn.).

“We are also pleased to feature school discipline practices at our National Conference on Education next month in Nashville. I am joining Michael Thompson, director of the Council of State Government’s Justice Center and Superintendents Ramona Bishop (Vallejo, Calif.) and Sharon Contreras (Syracuse, N.Y.) for a thought-leader session on this important topic.”

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About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage. Information on AASA Children’s Programs on Twitter @AASATotalChild.