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Washington Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is reviewing an Obama-era policy that seeks to soften penalties for students and counter racial bias in school discipline.

African-American students are suspended and expelled from schools at a rate three times higher than their white peers. The guidance instructed schools to review their data to see if the penalties were affecting minority students more. It also urged schools to use positive behavior interventions such as counseling.

On Wednesday DeVos met with educators who believe that rolling back the Obama rule would further entrench discrimination. Later, she will hear from opponents who say that softening discipline practices makes schools less safe and prevents learning.

Olinka Crusoe, an English teacher in New York, told DeVos that social and emotional support for student works better than harsh punishment.

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