Suspensions have long been a part of going to school, but the Colorado legislature is considering legislation that would make it rarer.

According to the State Department of Education, more than 93,000 thousand Colorado students were suspended from school last year, nearly 6,000 were in the second grade or younger. Reasons for school suspensions range from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco to assault, weapons, robbery, defiance/disobedient, sexual violence, destruction of property, and various other code of conduct violations.

House Bill 19-1194 aims to reduce the number of suspensions of younger students by restricting the criteria for suspending a student.

The bill states that a student enrolled in preschool, kindergarten, first grade, or second grade could be suspended or expelled only if the student engages in conduct on school grounds that:

A. Involves the possession of a dangerous weapon
B.Involves the possession, use, or sale of a drug or controlled substance
C. Endangers the lives or safety of others

The language of the bill states that suspensions can be harmful to young students in their formative years for many reasons, including the potentially negative long-term impact on a child's future success in school. The bill sets a pretty clear guideline for school districts regarding student discipline when it comes to suspending young students.

Suspending students of any age for the reasons listed above makes a lot of sense. For other code violations and behavioral issues, the bill could challenge schools to apply needed disciplinary measures in more effective and acceptable ways.

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