With the passage of HB425/SB651 suspensions and expulsions for Pre-K through second grade students will be limited except in extreme circumstances. Schools must strengthen and implement currently used student support strategies such as creating behavioral intervention plans which are designed to foster peer-to-peer, student-teacher, and teacher-parent relationships. In addition, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB1287 which creates a Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline to study the link between discipline and student arrests, and the use of restorative practices.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education, 2,363 students in Pre-K through second grade were suspended during the 2015-16 school year. Of those, 82 were in Pre-K. DRM has been working on legislation to eliminate the practice of suspension for young students. HB425/SB 651 would require schools to utilize positive interventions and supports and authorizes restorative practices. Advocates hope that this will motivate educators to deal with the reasons children act out, instead of simply removing students from school. DRM has been featured in media reports regarding this bill:
“Maryland bill limits school suspensions for its youngest students” – WUSA 9
“Bill curbing suspensions, expulsions of youngest Maryland students nears final approval” – The Baltimore Sun