Lawmakers poised to rein in ‘zero-tolerance’ policies at school
Todd Engdahl / EdNews Colorado
A bill that would ease school zero-tolerance discipline policies passed the Senate 32-3 this morning, more than four months after it was introduced.
The discipline bill, HB 12-046, has a simple premise, to reduce to one the number of school offenses that require mandatory expulsion. That last offense would be carrying a firearm at a school.
Sponsors and many other lawmakers have hailed the bill as one of the most important education proposals of 2012, but there’s been little disagreement or policy debate over the central premise of reducing zero-tolerance offenses.
An early version of the bill was proposed last year by a study panel named the Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline. (Get information about the task force’s work here.) But the bill has been mired in months and months of negotiations among a wide variety of education, law enforcement and advocacy groups.
At issue were the bill’s proposed requirements for gathering and reporting of data about student discipline and arrests, and about training of police officers who work at schools. Bill proponents believe data gathering is needed to ensure schools make reforms in discipline policies.
The bill’s Senate Democratic sponsors, Linda Newell of Littleton and Evie Hudak of Westminster, asserted during floor debate Thursday afternoon that all those disagreements finally are settled. …read full story by EdNews Colorado
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