Gabriella Celeste submitted written testimony to the House Education Committee on the discipline tactics regarding truancy and the negative impacts they can have on Ohio’s youth and the economy. House Bill 410 advances school-based prevention, intervention and support efforts and reduces the opportunity for court intervention by decriminalizing truancy and positively involving parents, allowing it to best serve the interests of Ohio’s students, their families, our schools and the larger public. The bill has passed the House and is in Senate Education Committee review as of May 11, 2016.
Additional written testimony was submitted for the Senate Education Committee hearing on September 27, 2016. This testimony discusses the positive impact of the school discipline amendments that have been made on HB 410. The amendments address the relationship between truancy, school climate, student removal and disengagement.
Celeste provided additional testimony to the Senate Education Committee hearing on November 15, 2016. This testimony further discussed how the amendments, to be proposed by Chair Lehner, “including not carrying over student suspension between school years, allowing students to make up missed work during suspensions, using out-of-school discipline as a last resort, and limiting the use of explusion and suspension for our youngest children, those in pre-K through third grade,” would align with the developmentally appropriate policy efforts our center supports.
On December 8, 2016 HB 410 was passed in the Ohio Senate. While the school discipline amendments that the Schubert Center supported were not included in the final version of the bill, the bill’s passage was still a victory for decriminalizing truancy and improving school discipline. The final bill calls for the State Board of Education to develop a model policy for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate behavior, including excessive absences, that stresses preventative strategies and alternatives to suspension or expulsion. This model policy should then be distributed to each school and school district.
In addition, the Department of Education shall develop materials to assist school districts in providing teacher and staff training on the implementation of the strategies included in the model policy.
The bill was signed into law by Governor Kasich on January 4, 2017.