House Bill 396
151st General Assembly (Present)
House Education 4/28/22 (Tabled in Committee)
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SCHOOL DISCIPLINE.
It has been the case for several decades that when a juvenile is arrested or charged with certain crimes, the child's school is notified with an "Attorney General's letter" regardless of whether the crime occurred on school property or had anything at all to do with school. Children can then face disciplinary consequences in school, including being placed in an alternative setting, or even expelled. Since they face consequences in the justice system, this creates the possibility of double punishment. This Act codifies the notification process, limiting notifications to violent felonies, crimes that occur on school property or at a school event, or where the alleged victim attends the same school. It also requires that when an Attorney General’s report is sent, the Attorney General must send a follow-up report within 2 business days letting the school know how the case was resolved. Under this Act, schools may not take disciplinary action against a child while the charge is pending, and may take disciplinary action after case resolution only where it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the school community. Children who are separated from the school environment unnecessarily are likely to become more involved with the justice system. Schools may offer or require counseling or other services for students who are the subject of an Attorney General’s report. When the alleged victim is at the same school, the school may take safety steps as appropriate. The Act specifies that when a child has an IEP or 504 plan, their disability must be considered in the course of any disciplinary proceedings. Finally, the Act requires Attorney General’s reports be handled confidentially and retained past the case resolution only in specified circumstances.
Takes effect upon being signed into law