New Jersey considers ending expulsions, suspension for young students

Legislation advancing in the New Jersey Assembly would limit suspensions and expulsion of students in preschool through second grade.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle’s bill would prohibit expulsions unless a student violated the Zero Tolerance Guns Act. And suspensions would be limited to violent or sexual conduct that endangers others.

Early detection and prevention programs to identify behavioral issues are better than removing younger students from school. said Huttle, D-Bergen.

“You all know the kid who turns out, unfortunately, on the wrong path, and you look at their history,” she said. “They were being expelled and suspended from school over and over again, and that never helped them at all by addressing problems.”

Melanie Schultz with the New Jersey Association of School Administrators opposes the legislation that she said isn’t necessary.

“We think it’s a rare instance when this happens,” she said. “Generally. if there’s a behavior issue in school, the parents are called in to speak with the school leadership — sometimes the district leadership — and it’s dealt with accordingly.”

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