VA School Discipline Changes Could Limit Suspensions in Elementary Schools

WASHINGTON — Changes to school discipline in Virginia could ban suspensions for elementary school students for anything but drug or weapons offenses and limit the use of long-term suspensions.


The bills, introduced and supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, respond to concerns that Virginia is referring too many students to law enforcement for issues that could be handled in the classroom and that punishments for students can be too harsh.


Three proposals introduced in the House by Republican Dickie Bell of Staunton and in the Senate by Republican Bill Stanley of Moneta would restrict the length of long-term suspensions, require something more concrete than disruptive behavior before a student can face long-term suspension or expulsion, and ban most suspensions or expulsions for students from preschool through fifth grade.


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