Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is being urged to discontinue the lax Obama-era school-discipline policies that may have attributed to the Parkland, FL school shooting.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter on Monday to urge DeVos to “immediately revise the 2014 directive and associated guidance to ensure that schools appropriately report violence and dangerous actions to local law enforcement.”
The current guidance for discipline is a joint effort by the Education and Justice Departments with the federal Office of Civil Rights to reduce criminal and disproportionate referrals, suspensions, and expulsions of minority students.
The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, avoided referrals and arrests under the policy. If Cruz had an arrest record, he would not have passed a gun purchasing background check. It is known that Cruz has histories of assault and brought gun ammunition to school.
The reduction of referrals, suspensions, and expulsions of minorities students are linked to federal grant dollars through the federal Departments of Education and Justice.
Senator Rubio’s letter goes on to say that common sense approaches to school discipline are being ignored and any policy seeking not to report disciplinary infractions appropriately to law enforcement has dangerous repercussions.
Secretary DeVos is looking to withdraw this guidance in addition to 600 other pieces of regulations from within the Department of Education.