Governor Andy Beshear signs student discipline bill into law

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear signed a school discipline bill Thursday that’s aimed at defusing classroom disruptions.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky governor Andy Beshear signed a school discipline bill Thursday that’s aimed at defusing classroom disruptions.

House Bill 538 would allow teachers to expel unruly students.

The bill gives school administrators the power to choose how they want to discipline unruly students.

”In the end, I think it’s one bill that really comes down to school safety,” Beshear said. “At a time where we have seen some really scary incidents across the country. Now this is one, that I believe if carried out appropriately, can hopefully intervene before some of those things happen.”

Some worry it will unfairly impact minority and disabled students.

”It’s really going to force students, I mean teachers and administrators, to write up more students,” Kumar Rashad, Metro Council District 3 Representative said. “And most of them will be Black, brown, poor. Students with disabilities. They are going to get kicked out of school, there’s going to be more trouble. There’s definitely going to be more trouble. We are going to have to deal with it on the back end as a society.”

Under the legislation, if a students disrupts class three times within a month, they can be suspended. Principals can require a review of classroom issues with the teacher and student’s parents to determine a “course of action” and remove a student from class for remainder of the year if their presence is deemed “chronically disruptive”.

Those students could be assigned to another classroom or alternative program instead of being expelled.

Some supporters believe this bill will provide relief for teachers.

”We hear from teachers all the time, teachers that are quitting, which is kind of disturbing,” Representative Kevin Bratcher said. “But we hear from all teachers that discipline in schools is a problem. And so what this bill is attempting to do is let the teachers and administration take control back of the classroom.”

”Knowing first hand what discipline looks like in the school system, and being assaulted three times myself led me to co-sponsor this,” Representative Beverly Chester-Burton said.

Under the bill, school districts can also expel a student if evidence shows they pose enough danger.

The bill won overwhelming support in the state’s Republican-dominated legislature.

The measure will be in place starting next school year.