States trying to deal with suspensions

Aug 28, 2017, Education Dive, Washington, DC: As states seek to reduce suspensions, schools look for ways to handle discipline At the time, Stewart wasn’t under a district or state mandate to reduce out-of-school suspensions, but Tennessee will soon begin to track and rate schools on such data as part of its plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which now requires states to include a nonacademic or school climate indicator as part of its accountability system. Many administrators, however, are already being required to implement alternatives to out-of-school suspensions as states and districts seek to reduce the racial disparities in school discipline — what is often referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline.

In Texas, under a law passed this year, schools can no longer suspend students in pre-k through the second grade unless the cases involve drugs, weapons or extreme violence. California lawmakers are considering a measure that would extend the ban on out-of-school suspensions for disruption and willful defiance from third grade through fifth grade and add grades six through 12 to the ban on a pilot basis through 2023. And in West Virginia, the state Department of Education is also considering a policy that would make out-of-school suspensions, for anything other than the most severe offenses, count against a school’s attendance rates as part of its ESSA plan. The policy is meant to encourage districts to use alternative discipline approaches….