This week – compromises on two student discipline bills were reached. One caps suspensions for those preK-12 at three days, and another caps the length of long-term suspensions at 45 days.
The average length of suspension time for all Virginia students is three days.
In a Senate compromise, suspensions would be capped at three days for those through third grade.
Amy Woolard with the Legal Aid Justice Center says there are exceptions for serious cases involving firearms, drugs and criminal offenses. “We don’t really see those with these kids. And if we do see something serious going on at ages 5, 6 and 7…I think its incumbent on us to look at the root cause of what’s going on and figure it out.”
The compromise would allow more exceptions for “aggravating circumstances” but requires the Department of Education to define those criteria.
Woolard says she’s not happy with language a bill capping long-term suspensions at 45 days for all grades.
It would allow local school divisions to decide on their own what they deem “aggravating circumstances.”