For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2018
Matthew Nocella, 202.724.8105 -

Grosso celebrates unanimous Education Committee approval of legislation to curb the use of exclusionary discipline in D.C. schools

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), chairperson of the Committee on Education, on the unanimous approval by the Committee on Education of his Student Fair Access to School Act of 2017, which aims to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline practices, including suspensions and expulsions:

"Today marks the latest step in my work to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Every student has a right to an education, of which suspensions and expulsions deprive them. We know how negatively suspensions and expulsions affect the students pushed out of school-they are more likely to fail academically, to drop out, and to end up involved in the criminal justice system.

"One of my first acts as a Councilmember was to require that OSSE collect and report data on suspensions and expulsions.  The latest data demonstrates that black students are nearly eight times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than white students. Students with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to receive at least one out-of-school suspension; at-risk students 1.5 times more likely. Moreover, we are seeing an increase in the use of disciplinary actions for subjective reasons. It is unacceptable.

"The Student Fair Access to School Act of 2017 limits out-of-school suspension of students in kindergarten through eighth grade to serious safety incidents and bans its utilization in high school for minor offenses. If exclusion becomes necessary, the bill protects a child's right to an education while they are off premises and requires a plan for the student to successfully return to the classroom.

"This collaborative legislation is the result of over a year of work, which included input from students, parents, teachers, school leaders, student and family advocates, researchers, mental health practitioners, and government agency heads. I am extremely proud to see it move on to the full Council for consideration."


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