Suspending a student who skips school is possibly discriminatory toward minority students, a new resource guide from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice advises educators, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.
Suspending students who skip school is included in a range of actions outlined in the "Resource on Confronting Racial Discrimination in Student Discipline" that could be considered racially discriminatory.
The Department of Education's resource, developed alongside the Department of Justice's Civil Rights division, highlighted several Office for Civil Rights (OCR) probes that typify the department's definition of racially discriminatory actions.
For example, an OCR investigation into Victor Valley Union High School District in August said the district had discipline policies that "disproportionately harmed black students" that included suspending students from school that were late or skipped school entirely.
Another school district, Wicomico County Public Schools in Maryland, was told it must permit students who skipped school to make up their missed schoolwork.
Conservative education experts have harshly criticized these decisions, with Bob Eitel, the president and co-founder of the Defense of Freedom Institute, telling the Washington Examiner that "what is inherently racist is assuming that school employees are racist because they are trying to maintain classroom order and discipline so students can learn. Classroom discipline should have nothing to do with the administration's woke agenda on race, and everything to do with maintaining a productive learning environment."
Mailyn Salabarria, the director of community engagement for the parent activist organization Parents Defending Education, said that "accountability and personal responsibility are important life lessons for students, regardless of their race or ethnic background."
Salabarria added that "schools embracing these race-focused recommendations will do a great disservice to minority students by increasing proficiency gaps, discipline issues and dropout rates. By promoting race-based disciplinary approaches, the Biden administration exacerbates the problem of schools failing students and ultimately harm the very children they claim to support."