Student discipline tracking system clears first round

Nebraska would track and report individual student discipline data under a proposal advanced from the first round of debate March 29.

Sen. Justin Wayne
Sen. Justin Wayne

LB154, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, would require the State Board of Education to implement a statewide system for tracking individual student discipline by type and by demographic characteristics including race, poverty, high mobility, attendance, disability and limited English proficiency.

Wayne said data from some Nebraska school districts shows that students who are minorities or in poverty are suspended or expelled at higher rates than their peers, making it more difficult for them to keep up in school and more likely to enter the juvenile justice system. He said accurate, statewide school discipline data would help the Legislature address those disparities.

“The problem is, we don’t have clear and convincing data because school districts calculate it differently,” Wayne said. “Some of them don’t even report it.”

Under LB154, the board would require each school district to report any individual student act resulting in suspension or expulsion, assignment to an alternative school or alternative learning program, the use of physical contact with a student or the restraint or seclusion of a student.

Districts would report any offense constituting grounds for a student’s long-term suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment regardless of the consequences assigned. They also would report any student act resulting in law enforcement involvement and any school-related citation or arrest.

The bill would require each school to designate at least one person to gather and report the required data. It also would require the state Department of Education to analyze and report on student discipline in a currently required annual report on student achievement.

Finally, LB154 would require the board to include student discipline as an indicator in an accountability system used to measure the performance of individual public schools and school districts.

Lawmakers voted 39-0 to advance the bill to select file.

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