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Murray & Scott on the Rollback of Civil Rights for Students with Disabilities, Students of Color

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, issued the following statements after the U.S. Department of Education announced a two-year delay of the Equity in IDEA rule.


Senator Murray said:

“By delaying a critical rule aimed at addressing the widespread disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities, Secretary DeVos is once again abandoning the Department’s commitment to uphold and protect students’ civil rights—this time for some of the students who need the most help. After years of research and input from students, parents, teachers, schools, and advocacy groups, this rule was intended to ensure the students who often need the most help are being supported—not punished, and delaying it will further perpetuate the school to prison pipeline we have worked so hard to address. Once again, Secretary DeVos is prioritizing her ideological agenda and the generation of students that may fall through the cracks will pay the price.”


Congressman Scott said:

“The Education Department’s decision to delay the Equity in IDEA rule, which addresses disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color with disabilities, is another example of this administration’s continued failure to protect students’ civil rights. We know that clear standards for compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are critical to addressing the over-representation, inappropriate placement, and over-discipline of black and brown students in special education.


“By delaying this rule, the administration is delaying our progress towards addressing the systemic challenge of racial discrimination, and it is allowing the disparities in the ‘school to prison pipeline’ to continue. This is why parents, teachers, students, state education officials, and advocacy groups overwhelmingly objected to the delay.


“Regardless of the Department’s decision to delay this important rule, states and school districts are still bound by the statutory requirements of IDEA to identify, address, and reduce significant disproportionality. I applaud states that are moving forward to implement the standardized methodology and taking meaningful action to reduce educational disparities for children of color with disabilities.”