Senate Bill 85
149th General Assembly (Present)
Senate Education 5/17/17
Awaiting consideration in Committee
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE LAWFUL AUTHORITY OF TEACHERS OVER PUPILS.
According to data provided by the Delaware Department of Education (“DOE”), thousands of Delaware students receive out-of-school suspensions each year for minor infractions, such as being unprepared or late for class, dress code violations, and disrespectful behavior. In 2013, only 2% of out-of-school suspensions were for serious offenses such as weapons, drugs, or serious violence. Out-of-school suspensions do not address the root causes for the misbehavior, and only serve to put the students further behind in class. Furthermore, DOE data shows that, in 2013, African-American students made up only 32% of the student body, but accounted for 62% of out-of-school suspension, and students with disabilities made up 13% of the student body, but accounted for 24% of out-of-school suspensions. New federal discipline guidance, developed jointly by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, instructs schools to commit to regular evaluation of school discipline policies and practices, and monitor progress toward the schools’ climate and discipline goals. This process requires schools to first collect and publicly report disaggregated student discipline data, and solicit feedback from students, staff, families, and community representatives. This Act furthers those goals by requiring schools that suspend at a high rate or that show significant suspension disparities to take meaningful corrective action by implementing plans to reduce these numbers and by replacing out-of-school suspensions with more effective and restorative discipline interventions. The schools in need of intervention are defined schools with high rates of suspension in the following categories: (1) All students. (2) Students belonging to 1 or more subgroups, such as students of specified racial subgroups or with disabilities. (3) Schools with a significant disparity in suspension rates between racial subgroups or between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the guidelines of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
Takes effect upon being signed into law