Gov. Lombardo introduces school discipline bill

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 11:24 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Another bill addressing school discipline landed in the Nevada Assembly Education Committee. AB330 aims to make it easier to expel violently disruptive students from schools.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because another Assembly Bill, heard last week in the Education Committee, similarly serves to empower schools to effectively deal with students who threaten other students or teachers. This bill, though, has the support of Governor Joe Lombardo from the start.

“The heart of AB330 is focused on three main objectives,” Lombardo said in the Education Committee hearing Thursday. “First, giving teachers the ability to control their own classroom to do their jobs. Second, giving parents peace of mind and that their children are safe at school. Third, giving students a safe and supportive environment that’s needed to learn.”

This bill, known as the Safer and Supportive Schools Act, would essentially repeal a 2019 law that introduced Restorative Justice to the state’s education system.

“It handcuffs teachers and administrators,” Governor Lombardo said of Restorative Justice. “Leaving them powerless to address habitually misbehaving and violent students.”

Restorative Justice is defined by the state as intervention and support by the school to improve a student’s behavior. Opponents of that school of thought say it lets disruptive students get off the hook too easily.

“Every child deserves to be safe in school,” argued Dr. Mary Pierzynski, representing the Nevada Association of School Superintendents during Thursday’s hearing. “And every teacher needs to be able to go to class and feel safe. We all know that, and that’s what this bill is designed to do.”

Assemblywoman Selena Torres pushed for reassurance in the bill that the needs of those students are being met in the face of a shortage of resources to do so.

“This bill isn’t fixing those things,” Torres said. “We’ve had administrator after administrator coming up here today to talk about the lack of resources in those areas. That’s what we need to be having the conversation in.”

Governor Lombardo assured the bill has safeguards for those students like requiring oversight on the number of students who are suspended or expelled.

Also Thursday, the CCSD Board of Trustees went over student discipline strategies. The board pledged to do better at upholding the ideals of Restorative Justice, which critics have said is not properly enforced in the district.

Governor Lombardo will be in the Las Vegas Valley Friday to promote his new bill. He’s expected to speak with teachers at a local high school at 2:30 p.m.

A stream will be available here or you can tune in on the FOX5 Facebook page.