Singleton Bill to Standardize School Discipline Practices and Prevent Discrimination Advances

Trenton – To ensure districts around the state are following best practices, the Senate Education Committee advanced legislation today sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton which would direct the Department of Education to develop guidelines concerning school discipline.

“Studies have found that Black children are more likely to be disciplined compared to their white counterparts, starting as early as preschool,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “As we work to address the achievement gap facing our state, we must acknowledge the inequality in the rate of detentions and suspensions and the impact it has on student outcomes. Through this legislation, we hope to encourage the use of positive behavior interventions and support systems rather than punitive measures.”

The bill, S-4037, would require the DOE to develop and distribute school discipline guidelines that would assist districts in enhancing school climates and ensuring that discipline practices are applied in an equitable and nondiscriminatory manner.

Under the bill, the guidelines would be consistent with the federal guidelines issued in 2014, would address any racial disparities or disproportionate impacts associated with current practices, and would include best practices to improve school climate and create positive discipline practices.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.