For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2016
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Senate’s unanimous passage today of House Bills 5618-5621 and 5693-5695, legislation to improve school expulsion and suspension policies in Michigan. This includes instructing schools to expel or suspend students sensibly, evaluating incidents and students on an individual basis, reducing zero tolerance discipline policies and promoting the use of “restorative justice” practices which seek to resolve issues at school. Earlier this fall, the League issued a report on racial disparities in education, noting that students of color are inordinately affected by school expulsions and suspensions. The statement may be attributed to League Vice President Karen Holcomb-Merrill.
“We all want to keep our kids safe when they’re in school, and that hasn’t changed. These bills will still protect students and teachers. They simply provide more common sense, flexibility and consideration of the students in weighing suspensions and expulsions. Too many students were receiving drastic and even permanently detrimental punishments for minor incidences or oversights, and this change provides educators with the discretion they need to act in the best interest of all students. This also gets the state one step closer to addressing the dramatic racial disparities in relation to school expulsions and suspensions, an area we will continue to work on in the next session.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.