Bill to eliminate out-of-school suspensions for elementary school students introduced in House

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A new bill introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday would eliminate most out-of-school suspensions for elementary school students.

House Bill 715 would get rid of out-of-school suspension as a punishment for students in kindergarten through fifth grade in instances of minor disobedience or misconduct. Out-of-school suspension would still be an option in more serious cases like those dealing with violence.

Co-sponsors of the bill argue that those suspensions can put a burden on parents who may have to take time off from work to watch their children or pay for daycare.

They also say those suspensions can have a long-term, negative impact on the students, who may find it difficult to catch back up in the classroom.

“Young people who are suspended at a higher rate tend to fall behind in their school work,” co-sponsor Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) said. “And because of falling behind in their school work, many of them fall out of school. And what we know is, when they drop out of school, sadly, many of them drop into our criminal justice centers.”

Harris says the bill would disrupt what he calls the “school to prison pipeline.”

He hopes the bill will ultimately become law even if it isn’t passed in the current session.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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