The Louisiana Senate approved a bill Thursday that would bar public and charter schools from suspending or expelling elementary school students for violating school uniform rules.
Senate Bill 54 sponsored by Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, was significantly scaled back from an earlier version.
The initial bill would have barred schools from expelling or suspending students in kindergarten through 3rd grade, unless their behavior posed “a threat to the safety or well-being” of others. That proposal was widely opposed by school districts and teachers, she said.
The revised measure only applies to violations of school uniform rules and encompasses students in preschool through fifth grade.
Broome said she hopes the bill, approved in a 23-4 vote, will start conversations about the plight of children with behavioral issues. She said once a student is marked as a troublemaker, that tag will adversely affect them throughout their schooling.
Ideally, Broome said she would like schools to provide additional services to help children with behavioral issues.
Her proposal heads next to the House for consideration.