WEKU | By Stu Johnson


Elizabethtown Senator Matthew Deneen During Debate on SB 202 03-08-23

The Kentucky Senate has passed legislation giving schoolteachers and administrators more options in dealing with student discipline issues.

After hearing from school officials, Paris Senator Steven West told his colleagues disruptive behavior is the biggest problem and it is one found in every school district. He said the bill allows for the extending of expulsion from one to two years and using a virtual learning option. Elizabethtown Senator Matthew Deneen spent 29 years in education. including work in alternative education.

“This out-of-control behavior and the lack of discipline has a ripple effect. It impacts their test scores, their achievement, their ability to feel safe in their own school,” said West.

Speaking in favor of the bill, Jessamine County Senator Donald Douglas said teachers should be teaching kids and not be called upon to parent children.

The bill passed 36 to zero. While voting yes, both Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas and Louisville Senator Gerald Neal said it’s important the additional disciplinary options don’t impact minority students disproportionately. Thomas said it will be important to review the impact of the legislation.

“We want to keep an eye out for that to make sure the judgments and discretions about how discipline is exacted in the schools is done fairly and unbiasedly as possible,” said Thomas

The bill heads on to the Kentucky House.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.