LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws that will ease zero-tolerance policies in public schools and give districts flexibility to consider many issues when deciding whether to punish a student.
Snyder says students will no longer be automatically expelled or suspended due to misconduct. Schools can consider a student’s age, disciplinary history, a student’s disability and whether safety was at risk.
“This is similar to measures we have taken to reform our criminal justice system by emphasizing restorative justice,” the governor said in a statement.
House Bills 5618-5621 and 5693-95, sponsored by state Reps. Andy Schor, Al Pscholka, Adam Zemke, Lisa Posthumus Lyons, Martin Howrylak, David LaGrand and Peter Lucido, respectively, will require school officials to consider situation-specific factors before suspending or expelling a child. These factors may include age and disciplinary history, whether the child has a disability, and whether the behavior threatened the safety of another student or staff member.The legislation also encourages the practice of restorative practices or lesser punishment if they properly address the violation.
The governor says the bipartisan package of laws (Public Acts 360 through 366 of 2016) is the result of discussions involving educators, judges and the American Civil Liberties Union.
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