Working to transform the child welfare system.

Sponsored by Sen. Litzow, SB 5244 states that an expulsion or suspension of a student may not be for an indefinite period of time.  An emergency expulsion must end or be converted to another form of corrective action within 10 school days.  Notice and due process rights must be provided when an emergency expulsion is converted to another form of corrective action.  School districts are directed to make reasonable efforts to assist students and parents in returning to an educational setting prior to and no later than the end date of the corrective action. Additionally, schools are not prevented from providing educational services to the student in an alternative setting or modifying the suspension or expulsion on a case-by-case basis.

As amended:  SB 5244 requires OSPI to  disaggregate, cross tabulate, and make public all discipline data in  and by various sub categories (including foster children).  School districts are required to conduct re-entry meetings for students who are suspended long-term or expelled within 20 days of the student’s suspension or expulsion to discuss a plan to reenter and reengage the student in a school program.  Further the bill requires WSSDA to develop a model policy and make it public on  its website by March 1, 2014. Maintains provisions from the underlying bill, including ending open-ended expulsions. Requires the K-12 data governance group to create at least four additional behavior infraction codes that are based on the four most commonly reported behaviors that fall under the other behavior infraction subgroup.

As amended by Ways and Means:  Provisions are removed that require school districts to continue to serve, support, and reengage students subject  to long-term suspension or expulsion.  Removes the requirement to continue to count students as enrolled who have been suspended or expelled.  Removes  reentry and reengagement plan requirements, as well as required reentry meetings.

Senate floor amendments:  Two amendments were passed.  One amendment restores language from the substitute bill, adding back the requirement for a reentry meeting to be convened within 20 days of a long-term suspension or expulsion and requiring development of a reentry and reengagement plan. The amendment clarifies that the act does not supersede or nullify laws protecting health and human safety.  The other amendment provides an exemption process on the one-year limit on suspension or expulsions.