Virginia Senate approves bill barring young suspensions/expulsions

(Richmond, Va.) – Virginia’s Senate has backed a bill banning the suspension of students in preschool through the third grade.

The body approved legislation sponsored by Franklin County Sen. Bill Stanley on a 34-6 vote.

The bill would prohibit students in preschool through the third grade from being suspended or expelled, except for drug and firearm offenses.

A similar measure died in a House of Delegates committee last week.

Stanley said the intent is “to stop is the schoolhouse to courthouse pipeline,” adding that the legislature needs “to make sure that we’re correcting their behavior and not punishing them.”

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia schools issued more than 17,300 short-term suspensions and at least 93 long-term suspensions to students in pre-K through third grade.