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Alabama Senate approves bill establishing student exclusion policies • Alabama Reflector

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The Alabama Senate Thursday approved legislation that would create procedures for excluding students from classrooms.

SB157, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, passed with unanimous approval from the chamber, though Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greenesboro, said he has “reservations.” 

“This bill is to try to support educators in the classroom,” said Orr.

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Under the bill, teachers would be able to exclude students from their classrooms starting in the 2024-24 school year for any of the following reasons:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Obstructing teaching or learning process of others
  • Threatening, abusing, intimidating or attempting to intimidate education employees or students
  • Willfully disobeying an education employee
  • Using abusive or profane language against an education employee

Excluded students will be placed with the principal or their designee. The student can return to the classroom with a written certification that the student may be readmitted and says what, if any, disciplinary action was taken.

If the principal or designee finds that disciplinary action was necessary, they will provide written notice and a telephone call, if possible, to the parent or guardian.

If a student is excluded from the classroom twice in one semester and other classroom discipline was exhausted, they can be readmitted if there is a conference with the teacher, principal and, if possible, the parent or guardian and the teacher and principal agree on a discipline course going forward and the parent or guardian was informed.

If the behavior persists, upon the teacher’s request, the principal will administer the maximum punishment, including transfer to an alternative school.

The bill further outlines readmittance and suspension guidelines and an appeals process.

The bill states that teachers cannot be held civilly or criminally responsible, with some exceptions. The bill also outlines procedures for legal disputes with teachers. 

Singleton said that some of the language was subjective. Singleton also brought up concerns about students with IEP, or special education plans. Orr said there was a section on students who need “special allowances.”

“I just don’t want those things to happen to students that are unintentional,” Singleton said.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, who has sponsored bills on expulsion in the past, said he appreciated the work on the substitute and spoke about the due process part.

“You got three levels in there, and I compliment you on that,” he said.

The bill passed 34-0. It goes to the House of Representatives.



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