HALL MONITOR: “YES” on H188, Standards of Student Conduct

Name: North Carolina H188, Standards of Student Conduct 

Summary: Allows schools more discretion regarding suspensions while seeking to minimize discrimination in public school discipline policies.

Status: In Senate Committee on Rules and Operations 

Bill Sponsor: Rep. John Torbett, Rep. Hugh Blackwell, Rep. David Willis, and Rep. Diane Wheatley are the primary sponsors of the bill. Torbett has represented District 108 since 2010; Blackwell has represented District 86 since 2009;  Willis has represented District 68 since 2021; and Wheatley has represented District 43 since 2021.

A sponsor is a legislator who presents a bill to the legislature to be considered for a vote

Bill Breakdown: 

North Carolina House Bill 188 revises state code G.S. 115C-390.2, regarding discipline policies in public schools. The bill requires the governing bodies of schools to “use best practices to develop and enforce discipline policies that do not discriminate against students on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or disability.”

The bill also expands the school’s discretionary use of suspension as a form of punishment by removing a clause that prohibits the use of suspension in certain instance that the code determines not a “serious violation,” including “noncompliance with a staff directive” and “physical altercations that do not involve weapons or injury.” At the same time, the bill encourages schools to prioritize in-school suspensions over suspensions that remove the student from the school. It also requires governing bodies to develop policies for measures to support students and mitigate learning loss in the case of a suspension.

Why did PDE Action support this bill? 

Discrimination has no place in schools. It is important to ensure that disciplinary codes are developed to prevent discrimination. At the same time, effective discipline is essential to the safety of both students and staff. Parents have the right to expect that the school will maintain their child’s safety from other students through appropriate disciplinary measures.