Capitol Correspondence - 07.09.18

Administration Rescinds 24 Federal Guidance Documents, Including on School Punishments for Children with Disabilities

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On July 3, 2018, the Administration announced that it had rescinded 24 guidance documents, including one regarding children with disabilities that it deemed “unnecessary.” While rescinding guidance does not change the actual rules about which the guidance was written, it has the effect of making federal rules less accessible and transparent. Guidance is meant to help clarify regulatory language so it can be accessible to the general public, who may not be as familiar with the legal terminology used in federal regulations.

As explained in the announcement:

“In February 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13777, which calls for agencies to establish Regulatory Reform Task Forces, chaired by a Regulatory Reform Officer, to identify existing regulations for potential repeal, replacement, or modification. The Department of Justice Task Force is chaired by Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio.

In November 2017, the Attorney General issued a memorandum prohibiting Department of Justice (DOJ) components from using guidance documents to circumvent the rulemaking process and directed components to identify guidance documents that should be repealed, replaced, or modified.

The Task Force identified 25 guidance documents for repeal in December 2017 and has identified 24 more documents to repeal this month. The Task Force is continuing its review of existing guidance documents to repeal, replace, or modify.”

While the announcement has the full list of rescinded documents, ANCOR is sharing this story because one rescinded document covered children with disabilities in schools. The document was titled NIJ April 6, 2016, Dear Colleague Letter regarding additional topics and research questions of high priority and particular interest to the NIJ as part of its Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. The letter pertained to the National Institute on Justice’s investigation into whether schools disproportionately punished students on the basis of race, national origin, native language, sex or disability.