A bill to ban school suspensions for school uniform violations by Senator Sharon Broome (D-Baton Rouge). Instead of telling the sad tale of this bill, I’ll just post what The Advocate said:
Despite complaints that it fails to go far enough, a House committee Wednesday morning approved a bill that would ban public school suspensions or expulsions for uniform violations.
The measure, Senate Bill 54 by Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge, cleared the House Education Committee without objection.
It has already passed the Senate and next faces a vote in the full House.
The bill started as a wide-ranging measure that would ban most out-of-school suspensions for students from kindergarten through third grade.
However, Broome announced last week that she was scaling back the legislation amid criticism from a variety of public school groups.
I normally don’t have a problem with the Legislature concerning itself with meaningless bills. I think most readers would agree that if the Legislature spent the session almost entirely on things such as congratulating the local 4H club for winning a livestock competition, Louisiana would be much better off. Rendering honors is one of the few things government does a good job at.
But bills like this which aim to solve non-existent problems are offensive to Louisiana taxpayers because if the Legislature is going to pretend to be productive, that time should be spent solving actual problems. Also, I’m not sure if I want the Louisiana Legislature determining the school suspension policies for schools. Those policies should be set by administrators.
Here’s what the Broome bill will address:
Under the revised version, public schools would be prohibited from suspending or expelling students from prekindergarten through fifth grade for uniform violations unless they were linked to a “willful disregard of school policies.”
In other words, a meaningless solution because anything can be made into a “willful disregard of school policies.”
So just how many students were suspended last year for uniform violations?
An official of the Southern Povery Law Center said uniform violations last year accounted for only 10 suspensions of more than 15,000 for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
I’m so glad the Louisiana Legislature has solved every other problem facing the state so that it could address this very important issue.