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OHIO: Bill to limit out-of-school suspensions for elementary students over behavior

May 16, 2018, Columbus (OH) Dispatch: Ohio Senate approves bill limiting suspensions of young students http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180516/ohio-senate-approves-bill-limiting-suspensions-of-young-students Ohio schools could no longer impose out-of-school suspensions for young students who commit minor offenses under a bill that unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday. Ohio elementary schools have handed out an average of 35,000 out-of-school suspensions over each of the past two years. Almost half were for disruptive or disobedient behavior, nearly two-thirds were black children, and 90 percent were from low-income households. “In recent years, the number of young children being suspended or expelled in Ohio schools has skyrocketed,” said Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, a lead bill sponsor. “The evidence is overwhelming — exclusionary discipline policies do nothing to improve school culture or student behavior.” The concern is suspensions pile punishment onto youths acting out in the classroom often as a result of trauma experienced at home from neglect, physical abuse or stress from poverty…. In the meantime, districts would be expected to implement what’s known as Positive Behavior Intervention Systems. Teachers and staff are trained to develop classrooms that recognize social and emotional skills, such as the ability to get along with others, be attentive and not speak out at inappropriate times. The bill includes $2 million to help schools get the program running. …