US Commission on Civil Rights

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Seeks Comments on Disabled Students of Color and School Discipline

On Friday, December 8th, in Washington, DC, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public briefing: The School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Intersections of Students of Color with Disabilities. This briefing is part of an investigation into school districts’ compliance with federal laws designed to ensure the safety of students of color with disabilities against discrimination, and whether laws adequately protect these students from discriminatory disciplinary actions and policies.

It is important that stakeholders, including parents, opine given this opportunity. As we noted, quoting the NY Civil Liberties Union’s report, in a blog post related to a local hearing on this topic earlier this year, a child who is suspended from school is much more likely to “fall behind in school, be retained a grade, drop out of high school, commit a crime, and become incarcerated as an adult.” NYCLU reports that “[t]he best demographic indicators of children who will be suspended are not the type or severity of the crime, but the color of their skin, their special education status, the school they go to, and whether they have been suspended before.”

The briefing begins at 9am and will be available to all via live-stream and a call-in line (listen only): 1-800-479-9001, conference ID 836-2937. If you happen to be in the DC area and wish to attend, you can find information about how to do so in the Commission’s meeting notice.

If you wish to submit comments for consideration as the Commission prepares its report, they are accepting submissions for 30 days following Friday's briefing and forum. You can email your comments to  It’s important to note that any comments that the Commission receives become a part of the public record. A full privacy statement is available on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ page about public comments.