During his State of the State, Republican Governor Joe Lombardo urged the Nevada legislature to fix the mess they created in 2019 when they passed AB 168, a Restorative Justice experiment signed into law by former Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak, which prohibited or limited the expulsion of students. The bill also prohibited removing, suspending or expelling students solely for offenses related to attendance or truancy, according to a memo by the Nevada Department of Education. It also changed language in state statute that said students “must” be expelled for committing battery that results in bodily injury of an employee to “may be expelled.” Since the law was passed, violence against teachers and students has escalated across school districts throughout the Silver State.
Assembly Bill 330, the Safer and Supportive Schools Act, sponsored by Governor Lombardo, repeals restorative justice measures by “removing the reference to a statewide framework for restorative justice developed by the Department of Education, the development of which is repealed by section 15 of this bill.”
Per the Legislative Counsel Digest:
Existing law requires that, with certain exceptions, a public school must provide a plan of action based on restorative justice to a pupil before removing, suspending or expelling the pupil. (NRS 392.472) Section 13 of this bill allows a pupil to be temporarily removed in certain circumstances without first providing such a plan. Existing law requires the Department, to the extent money is available, to develop a statewide framework for restorative justice. (NRS 388.1333) Section 15 repeals that provision.
Nevada schools are in crisis, students and teachers are unsafe, they need help now.
Gov. Joe Lombardo is putting forward common sense reforms for school safety.
— Nevada War Room – Better NV PAC (@BetterNevadaPAC) March 22, 2023
Concerns over violence at valley schools
A student accused of sexually assaulting and trying to kill a teacher
Metro police investigating an assault at a Clark County High School
This morning violence is climbing at CCSD schoolsOne female student attacking a teacher with a knife
CCSD staff members protesting, demanding the district do more to stop violence on campusPleading for some kind of change
We don’t need any more examples of school violence
We’ve seen enough, it’s time to act and repeal the most onerous sections of this law
And in their place create structure that works for educators, parents and students
Republicans and Democratic lawmakers have introduced two bills to restore expulsions for students.
The two bills that Governor Lombardo mentions are as follows:
Assembly Bill 285 eliminates the age requirement of eleven years old for expulsion, transfers the responsibility of creating a restorative justice plan from the school to the school board, and maintains the disciplinary requirements related to “progressive discipline” and restorative justice.
Assembly Bill 194 authorizes the suspension, expulsion or permanent expulsion of a pupil of any age who commits a battery or assault against an employee of a school or another pupil while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on a school bus. The bill also authorizes the permanent expulsion of a pupil who is at least 11 years of age who sells or distributes any controlled substance while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on a school bus. Existing law authorizes the suspension, expulsion or permanent expulsion of a pupil with a disability if the pupil is at least 11 years of age.
John Burke, Service First Fund Spokesman told The Globe: “Students and teachers have a basic right to feel safe in their classrooms. Nevada lawmakers have failed them. Governor Lombardo’s proposal embraces common sense solutions that will make schools safer for teachers and students alike. It’s time for our state legislature to act swiftly and pass this agenda into law so our kids have a safe place to learn.”
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