Oregon Legislature Passes Bill to Roll Back “Zero Tolerance” Policies
Melanie Zuch, Dignity in Schools Campaign, 06/04/2013
DSC member organization Portland Parent Union successfully pushed for the passage of a bill to reform school discipline and roll back 'zero-tolerance' policies in Oregon. On May 21, 2013, the Oregon legislature passed HB 2192-B, removing mandatory expulsion requirements from the state's school discipline statute. The new legislation will go into effect in July 2014.
An ever-growing body of research consistently shows that exclusionary discipline policies lead to higher dropout rates among students. Oregon formerly embraced a policy mandating a one-year expulsion for students who brought items considered ‘dangerous’ to school, even where the student intended no harm whatsoever. With one of the worst high school graduation rates in the United States, a shift away from zero tolerance was long over due in Oregon. HB 2192-B will give more discretion to school administrators in deciding when suspension and expulsion should be administered.
While the passage of H2192-B is an exciting step towards dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline, advocates will continue to push for greater reform. According to Sheila Warren of the Portland Parent Union, this victory will give the DSC momentum to fight for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions, and will similarly give leverage to the Disproportionate Discipline Advisory Team in Oregon to push their recommendations to the Department of Education.
Read more about this exciting legislative victory here!