Student discipline policy changes move forward in Education Committee

Legislation to encourage school districts to change disciplinary policies before starting dismissal actions against students had its first hearing this week. It requires that districts report to the MDE Commissioner on withdrawal decisions.

Student disciplinary policies have been under scrutiny the past few years with teacher assaults and student exclusion and expulsion rates making headlines. There were bills introduced in 2016 requiring students to be immediately expelled for assaulting teachers. Opponents argued that such action would not help students solve educational and emotional problems and the bills died. However, bills that provided more inclusionary ideas also did not pass.

The bill explains pupils’ rights to present the version of facts of an incident, requires a district to convene a parental meeting within 30 days of the dismissal, requires that districts provide the suspended student the opportunity to complete all school work during the suspension and that administrators must immediately attempt to contact a parent if a pupil has been removed from the school building or grounds by a peace or school resource officer. The attempts must be documented. (SF 2920)