State board considers changing school discipline rules

A suspended student could not be kept out of school during an appeal of the disciplinary action

April 26, 2011|By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun

In an attempt to tighten state regulations governing school discipline, the state school board will gather reaction on a proposal to limit the time a suspended student can be kept out of school during the appeal of a serious disciplinary action.

The board said Tuesday it wants to implement a regulation that would require a school system to bring a student back to school the day after the suspension is over. In some school systems, a student can be kept out of school for weeks or months while an appeal is heard, a practice the state board wants to stop. Under the proposal, if a student is suspended for 10 days and appealed the suspension, the student would have to return to school on the 11th day.

The board began discussion of the issue after a Fairfax County, Va., student, who had been out of school for several months following a suspension, committed suicide. Family members have suggested that the suspension contributed to the student's suicide.

State education administrators said they have almost no statistics on how often students are out of school for long periods after disciplinary actions, but the board said it wanted districts to be required to collect such data.

The proposal also would require the school systems to complete an investigation and the superintendent to make a ruling on the disciplinary action within the first 10 days that the student is out of school.

Most systems require a superintendent's approval if a student is going to be suspended for more than 10 days.

The school board is seeking reaction on the proposal from the school districts and the public in the next month.

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