SB 167 – Elimination of Zero-Tolerance Policies (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_SB_167
SB 167 eliminates zero-tolerance school policies for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate student behavior, including excessive truancy, and prohibits the adoption of such policies in the future. Instead, it requires each school district to create its own multi-factor policy to deal with incidents on a case-by-case basis. It also requires school boards to create alternative strategies for handling bullying and harassment, as well as other student behavioral issues.
Primary Sponsors:Sen. Tavares (D)
Secondary Sponsors:Sen. Brown (D), Sen. Sawyer (D), Sen. Schiavoni (D)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/sen130.nsf/Senate+Bill+Number/0167?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
The ACLU of Ohio supports SB 167. Currently, school districts are required by law to implement zero-tolerance policies; SB 167 gives discretion back to teachers and school administrators in determining appropriate disciplinary action toward students.
The ACLU of Ohio opposes zero-tolerance policies because they promote harsh and often uncalled-for punishment, treating all infractions equally regardless of the underlying misbehavior. Such policies criminalize minor incidents of misconduct, pushing students out of their schools and into the juvenile or criminal justice systems. These students then face the lasting effects of having severe punishments on their permanent records and falling behind in their education. These policies have also been shown to disproportionately affect children with disabilities as well as children of color.