The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says students of color with disabilities are disciplined more harshly than their peers. It urges President Donald Trump's administration to offer guidance to schools on how to comply with nondiscrimination laws when punishing students.
The administration rescinded Obama-era guidance in December, saying states and local school districts are responsible for deciding how to handle discipline.
The commission's report says unevenly applied punishments, especially removing students from class, make it harder for students to graduate and avoid the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.
Tuesday's report also recommends that Congress provide funding for training and to help states hire more school counselors.
The Education Department says Secretary Betsy DeVos has been encouraging local schools to "implement discipline reforms that they believe will foster improved outcomes for their students."