Florida school district commits to enhancing discipline procedures for students with disabilities

Dive Brief:

  • Florida’s Pasco County Schools have committed to implementing various enhancements following revelations of discriminatory disciplinary practices towards students with disabilities to ensure adherence to federal regulations.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, in a joint communication with the district, highlighted that Pasco County Schools frequently resorted to suspensions and referrals to law enforcement as responses to disability-related misconduct by students, stating that appropriate behavioral interventions and supports could have addressed these behaviors.
  • In light of this, the district pledged to designate at least one individual per school to lead behavioral supports, and ensure that school-based threat management teams consider the disability status of students under safety assessments and evaluate the connection between their behavior and their disability.

Dive Insight:

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida identified widespread violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act within Pasco County Schools, particularly relating to disciplinary actions during the school years from 2018-2019 to 2021-2022.

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