From EAG News:

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some Ohioans are pushing for the elimination of zero tolerance policies in public schools, both because of a lack of common sense in punishments and a disproportionate impact on minority students.

Democratic state Sen. Charleta Tavares is pushing for Education Committee chair Sen. Peggy Lehner, a Kettering Republican, to consider legislation to abolish state-mandated zero-tolerance polices for public schools instituted in the 1990s, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Tavaras wants administrators to have more leeway and to consider a variety of factors when leveling student discipline, rather than to follow prescribed suspension and expulsion policies for nonviolent offenses. Her legislation would task local schools with developing a multifaceted approach to student discipline, and would prohibit zero-tolerance policies.

“Children are coming into the school with multiple traumas. They’re acting out because they don’t know how to handle it,” Tavaras told the news site.

The Children’s Defense Fund reports Ohio schools issued more than 210,000 out-of-school suspensions and more than 3,400 expulsions in the 2012-13 school year. About 54 percent of the suspensions and 21 percent of expulsions were for nonviolent behavior. Nearly 6,000 Ohio students were also suspended for being truant, and 152 were expelled for truancy in 2013-14 – with more 1,000 of the suspensions in Columbus City Schools, according to state education figures cited by the Dispatch.

The People’s Justice Project and the Ohio ACLU both back Tavaras’ bill, primarily because the policies impact minority, disabled, and sexually abnormal students the most.

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