Va. lawmakers want to limit criminal charges for student misbehavior

January 15, 2019 | The News & Advance

While the General Assembly took steps last year to change the way students are disciplined, several Virginia lawmakers want to go even further. Bills filed in both the House of Delegates and Senate would prohibit students from being found guilty of disorderly conduct for actions in school — where nearly two in five disorderly conduct complaints against children originate, according to state data.

“Nobody is saying disruption in the classroom is acceptable, but it could be handled with a suspension or a letter to a parent,” said Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, a former prosecutor. “It doesn’t have to lead to incarceration.”

The bills — filed by Mullin; Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond; and Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond — would exempt students from a disorderly conduct charge if they misbehave at school or on a school bus.

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