The federal commission on school safety released a new 177-page report offering school districts some recommendations on how to better protect students.
The acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker said that the report “provides a substantive blueprint for this Administration’s next steps to protect our young people. The Department of Justice will continue to support first responders and provide training for law enforcement officers and school personnel.”
The commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is planning to rescind some of the Obama-era policies pertaining to how schools discipline students.
One Obama-era guidance, in particular, was intended to reduce punishment based on racial discrimination at schools, but the commission believes that this has instead prevented schools from punishing violent students.
“The federal policies addressed in the report stem from 2014, when the Education Department under President Barack Obama issued detailed guidance on “how to identify, avoid, and remedy” what it called “discriminatory discipline.” The guidance promoted alternatives to suspension and expulsion and opened investigations into school districts that had severely racially skewed numbers,” writes NPR.
“Students are afraid because violent students were going unpunished,” said a senior administration official to reporters.
The commission, which was formed after the Parkland, FL school shooting on Feb. 14, has a mission to find solutions to protect students in schools across the country.
“The grief inspires us all,” said Trump, who also said he was “profoundly grateful to all of the families who are working with us to prevent others from suffering the same horrible tragedy.”
“No student or teacher should ever have to worry about their safety at school,” said DeVos.
The commission is also recommending that schools consider arming school personnel and that districts should work with local police departments.
DeVos says that schools should “seriously consider partnering with local law enforcement in the training and arming of school personnel.”
But the commission is also calling on states and cities “to adopt laws making it easier for courts to temporarily remove guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others, known as extreme risk-protection orders, and urges states to ease standards under which courts can force people to submit to psychiatric medications or other treatments,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
The report also recommends that schools “harden” exteriors and install blast-proof glass windows. It also suggests that state or local agencies should develop rating systems for violent video games.
“This Commission wasn’t established to provide a single solution to this problem, nor did the Commissioners set out to mandate uniform policy to every community,” states the report. “In fact, it is our considered belief that doing so would prove counterproductive.”
Author’s note: Schools should decide on disciplinary policies at a local level rather than at a national level. Although a lot of these recommendations apply to all districts, different schools need different solutions. The Obama-era policy that let minority students get away with stuff that caucasian students would be severely punished for (or vice versa) is not only unfair, but psychologically damaging for the students.