CDR Joins Organizations in Policy Brief on Civil Rights Impact & the Problem with Threat Assessments in our Schools
Over the past few weeks our country has witnessed the horror of multiple mass shootings with one happening in Uvalde, TX at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers were brutally murdered by a gunman. Center for Disability Rights, Inc. (CDR) mourns with the rest of our country on these horrible killings but we are not making empty statements filled with our concerns and sorrows for these unacceptable and horrific killings. We are engaging in policy conversations with Congressional members about ending gun violence and keeping schools safe for all students. CDR is a member and a co-convener of the Federal School Discipline and Climate (FedSDC) Coalition and has been in constant contact with Congress and the White House about this work.
FedSDC is a diverse group of organizations and individuals committed to advocating for legislative and federal action to protect the interests and educational rights of Black and Brown students and youth through a racial justice and educational equity lens. We advocate that all children deserve to go to schools that create environments and experiences that help them to succeed. Establishing police-free schools and ending the use of seclusion, harmful and dangerous restraints, and corporal punishment while implementing effective, non-punitive, and culturally sustaining practices in schools and alternatives to school discipline is a core value for FedSDC.
This country has engaged in the conversation about mass shootings in our country’s schools, the main discussion is on gun control. But as we discuss racial justice and ending systems of racism, we must recognize that in this policy and social justice work we must address this using Intersectionality. BIPOC communities live multi-marginalized lives (NOT MULTIPLY) multi- is short for multiple – we don’t multiply the issues, they are multiple marginalizations.
So therefore, to say that the push for Police Free Schools (#PoliceFreeSchools) is not part of this discussion is against all of the Intersectionality, racial justice and ending systems of racism work many are claiming to do. We cannot address policy and create change in silos – that has been a part of the problem for so many years. We must address solutions as we live in multiple ways and at the same time.
One of the new solutions to ending school shootings being discussed from organizations that represent mostly white families is to push threat assessments into our schools. There has been a new book published about how schools can and should implement threat assessments into the administration of safety in schools. NPR and other media have done a few shows on the book with its author. Yet have completely left out those groups and organizations who oppose this solution (nothing new here) because most of those groups are of BIPOC communities.
It must be said yet again – public safety is not defined the same for all communities. It is defined differently for white communities. BIPOC communities and in particular Black and Brown communities do not define safety the same way. This was brought to the forefront of our nation in the Summer of 2020 and much of that is being forgotten. More Law Enforcement in any place, especially our schools, or any part of our lives of BIPOC communities is NOT a solution.
As Civil Rights/Human Rights activists and policymakers we do not support this thought that threat assessments should be a part of our school safety plans. They have no place in the lives of our children. Threat assessments in general are racist stemming from white supremacy, as we have learned from 9/11 law enforcement work. But the problem with threat assessments has existed for centuries and has been harmful and not creating safety for BIPOC communities. We also oppose a few of the bills in Congress that create statute for this solution in our schools. FedSDC has written letters of opposition for all of these bills except the ALYSSA bill (working on now); for a copy of the letters contact Dara Baldwin.
A group of civil rights organizations got together and wrote this policy brief on The Problems with Threat Assessments in Schools – K-12 Threat Assessment Processes Civil Rights Impact.
Civil Rights Groups
The Center for Civil Rights Remedies at The Civil Rights Project
Center for Disability Rights (CDR)
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
The Daniel Initiative
Education Law Center
Federal School Discipline and Climate Coalition (FedSchoolDisc)
National Center for Youth Law (NCYL)
National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
Open Society Policy Center
The Problems with Threat Assessments in Schools – K-12 Threat Assessment Processes Civil Rights Impact
Link to the website page:
Bills in Congress that push threat assessments and we oppose:
S.111 – Luke and Alex School Safety Act of 2021 – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
H.R.750 – Luke and Alex School Safety Act of 2021 – Rep> Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
EAGLES Act of 2021 – H.R. 1229 – Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)
EAGLES Act S. 391 – Sen. Grassley (R-IA)
Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021 -H.R. 2877 – (BIG) Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA)
*Unfortunately this bill has passed in the House – on 5/13/2021
to see how your member voted go here:
S.1383 -Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021 – (BIG) Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
ALYSSA Act (HR. 3661)– Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
Legislation we see as solutions for keeping all students safe and we support:
*FedSDC – has letters of support for all of these bills – if your organization would like to sign on please contact Dara Baldwin
Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act S. 2125 (CNC)- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act H.R. 4011 (CNC)- Rep. Ayana Pressley (D-MA)
Keeping All Students Safe Act of 2021 (KASSA) – S. 1858 – Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Keeping All Students Safe Act of 2021 (KASSA) – H.R. 3474
Rep. Donald S. Breyer, Jr. (D-VA)
Protecting our Students in Schools Act of 2021 (POSSA) S.2029
– Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Protecting our Students in Schools Act of 2021 (POSSA) H.R. 3836 – Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA)
For more information about this work contact Dara Baldwin, MPA, Director of National Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org
CDR is an unique fusion of advocacy and supportive services. CDR is a disability led, not-for-profit Corporation. We provide services to people with disabilities and seniors within the framework of an Independent Living Model which promotes independence of people with all types of disabilities, enabling choice in living setting, full access to the community, and control of their life.
CDR works for national, state, and local systemic change to advance the rights of people with disabilities by supporting direct action, coalition building, community organizing, policy analysis, litigation, training for advocates, and community education.
CDR advocates for the full integration, independence, and civil rights of people with disabilities. CDR works through a disability justice lens which centers disabled BIPOC and with an intentional framework to end racism and all systems of oppression.