The New Jersey Department of Education recently issued an advisory highlighting key information in recent United States Department of Education guidance regarding the discipline of students with disabilities and to share United States Department of Education resource documents. Districts should consider this guidance when engaging with families and developing policies and procedures regarding the discipline of students with disabilities.
On July 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance from the Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. This guidance consists of a Dear Colleague Letter and two documents that outline the requirements regarding individuals with disabilities as set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, with a particular focus on disparities in the use of discipline for children with disabilities.
“Questions and Answers: Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA’s Discipline Provisions,” provides a comprehensive explanation of applicable procedures required under the IDEA.
“Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders,” is intended to assist educators in adopting proactive strategies and evidence-based practices that may reduce disciplinary action and improve outcomes for students with disabilities.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has introduced a blog series to promote discussion around the discipline of and behavioral supports for students with disabilities. The first entry, “Discipline Discussions: The Impact and Harm of Exclusionary Discipline,” was released Dec. 8, 2022.
Refer to the full advisory for more information.