Give Now

House School Discipline Bill Met With Concerns

Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) authored HB 1421.

Some educators and teachers are pushing for changes in school discipline practices, but a bill considered in the House Education Committee Tuesday was not received well by all members.

HB 1421 aims to reduce things like expulsion or suspension in all Hoosier schools. Supporters of the legislation, like Darreyel Laster, from PilotED Schools, says positive discipline is more effective, and should be used everywhere.

“We can no longer exclude, suspend and expel students with the hope that they will return to the classroom as better human beings,” Laster says.

The bill says schools should look for ways to discipline misbehaving students through restoration practices, like conflict resolution. The bill also requires schools to address traumatic stress for students who have had adverse childhood experiences.

Many supporters say state law should reflect positive discipline standards, but a handful of school administrators at the bill’s hearing say some schools already use positive, restorative practices, and question why the state needs to step in.

Committee members also raised concerns about forcing schools into certain practices without providing enough resources for schools – Vice Chair Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), was one of them.

“I don’t think this is something we need to dictate from top down. Most educators I think are doing this now,” Cook says.

People opposed to the bill added that a new law could take discipline power away from teachers and school administrators.

The committee was split on the vote, but approved the legislation 8 to 5.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From