Student Discipline Act updated

Lawmakers passed a bill Aug. 13 that makes several changes to provisions in the Student Discipline Act related to suspension, expulsion and mandatory reassignment.

Sen. Tony Vargas
Sen. Tony Vargas

LB515, introduced by Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas, requires that a student be given an opportunity to complete any classwork and homework missed during a suspension, including examinations. It requires school districts to develop and adopt guidelines for doing so.

The bill clarifies the time frame during which a principal must send a written statement to a suspended student—and his or her parent or guardian—describing the student’s conduct, misconduct or violation of the rule or standard and the reasons for the action taken.

It also requires school districts to reinstate a student when their expulsion has ended and accept non-duplicative, grade-appropriate credits earned by the student during the expulsion from certain accredited institutions.

Among other changes, the bill also creates and modifies several procedures for student discipline hearings.

Under LB515, a student or the student’s parent or guardian may request the designation of a hearing examiner other than the hearing examiner recommended by the superintendent. The bill requires school boards to pay the expenses and fees of any hearing examiner.

The bill passed on a vote of 26-7. Twenty-five votes were necessary.

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