Round two: MSDE adopts new student discipline regs – finally!
Yesterday, the Maryland State Board Education once again voted to finally abandon the dangerous and long since discredited policy known as Zero Tolerance (ZTP). Marking landmark change in the policy governing student discipline, suspension and expulsion.
Adoption of the new regulations has seen a somewhat lengthy and tortured course. The board first proposed rejection of ZTP by adoption of a very different, student-discipline policy roughly a year ago. Had it been approved then it would soundly rejected Maryland’s decades long ZTP and replaced it with a common sense determinatioin of student sanction appropriate to the age, appreciation and individual status of the student faced with significant punishment.
However, last year the Board’s original set of proposed reg’s were successfully challenged by a band of public school administrators which contest ultimately resulted in further study of the new policy and some modification of the policy and thankfully, compromise. The current and newest set of reg’s were finally approved by members of the Board’s study committee, which included representatives of the public school administrators group who’d originally opposed large parts of the new policy reg’s.
The new set of proposed student discipline reg’s will be printed and available online published for public comment beginning in September and hopefully, will approved without further change by December.
Like most reasoned stakeholders, I eagerly await the day when neither I nor my young clients will have to hear that oh so common refrain voiced by school principals and administrators across our State who claim the current regulations leave no other option but to impose the most serious sanctions mandated (long term suspension or worst of all, expulsion) because of statements like: we follow a strict “Zero Tolerance Policy”.