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Legislation to relax "zero-tolerance" in schools moves to Senate

Jun 6, 2016

Legislation in the state Senate would relax Michigan's "zero tolerance" approach to discipline in public schools.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, introduced the bills. He says he has personal experience with the current policies.

"The pencil sharpener was broken in my son's classroom when he was in second grade, so he took my Swiss Army knife, which he shouldn't have done, but he brought it in to sharpen his pencil and another student said, you know, 'Ms. So-and-so, Ryan's got a knife,’ and he got suspended for it," Schor said.

Schor says his bills would give schools more flexibility.

"In my bill,” he says, “it says before looking at the zero-tolerance, the mandatory suspension or expulsion, the schools have to look a child's age, the intent – was  there intent of a crime – the situation," Schor said.

The U.S. Departments of justice and education say students of color are disproportionately affected by zero-tolerance policies.

The bills passed the state House with widespread support.