Our View of the Legislature – Discipline

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The legislature is considering bills concerning student discipline in public schools. Here are the most important ones we are tracking:

Restorative Discipline

HB 398 (McQuinn) and SB 586 (Pekarsky) would prohibit any public elementary or secondary school student from being suspended, expelled, or excluded from attendance at school without implementing at least one evidence-based restorative disciplinary practice. Under restorative discipline, the practice is to respond to disruptive behaviors by focusing on correcting the harm caused rather than punishing the behavior. The Senate subcommittee on K-12 Education recommended reporting but referred the bill to Senate Finance. The House bill was approved by the subcommittee and will likely be heard in full committee on Monday, February 5th at 8 am.

Uniform System of Discipline

HB 853 (Obenshain) would require the state to have a uniform system of discipline, including provisions for the automatic removal of a student from a classroom for “violent” disruptive behavior, and a “three-strike” system for removal of students whose behavior is non-violent, but disruptive. This bill is identical to a bill that was defeated last session, with strong opposition from the disability community. The Education K-12 subcommittee recommended laying the bill on the table.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is available to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative proposals. Our mission is to advance independence, choice, and self-determination; protect legal, human, and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect, and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation. If you know of something you think we should be watching, please let us know at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 1-804-225-2042.