1,000 signatures reached
To: Chairwoman Landry & House Education Committee Members
Tell the Louisiana House Education Committee to Support House Bill 372
Since 2003 when the Juvenile Justice Reform Act was passed, FFLIC has been seeking alternatives to suspensions as many parents addressed how their children began their trajectory into prison. We believe the passage of HB 372 can move our state further on ending that trajectory for all the children across Louisiana.
Why is this important?
State laws substantially contribute to the overuse of school suspensions and expulsions in Louisiana, where students can be dismissed for a wide range of minor misbehavior and Black students are far more likely to be penalized.
In the 2013-2014 school year, 61,201 students, including students in grades pre-kindergarten through 5, were suspended out-of-school. Under current state laws, minor infractions have resulted in children losing a tremendous amount of instructional time and falling behind in their academic progress.
School policies on “willful disobedience” are vaguely defined, arbitrarily enforced as a ground for suspension, and disparately used. Black students are suspended at disproportionally higher rate than their white counterparts. Data shows that “willful disobedience” has been used as the reason for 13,535 suspensions in the 2013-2014 school year that includes 8,000 suspensions of children in grades pre-kindergarten to 5.
HB 372 solves the problems of excessive, racially disparate, and arbitrary use of student suspension. While disruptive behavior should be addressed, we need to ensure repercussions are the most beneficial and effective for our children. Alternatives, such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, are not only more effective discipline methods, but they also result in higher attendance rates, improved student behavior, higher academic performance, and more positive overall school climate.