HB 425: Favorable with amendments, passed 3/13, Third Reading Passed (91-48). Sent to Senate, First Reading Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs 3/17
SB 651: Favorable with amendments 3/20
The Maryland Green Party endorses House Bill 425 and Senate Bill 651, and we approve of the House and Senate giving these bills favorable reports out of committee. This bill prohibits the suspension or expulsion of pre-kindergarten students, and prevents suspension or expulsion for students in kindergarten, first, and second grades unless they have knowingly brought a firearm to school. For these grades in place of expulsion, any offenses require behavior interventions and other support programs.
Our education system should be designed to support continuous learning and social inclusion. The use of suspension and expulsion interrupts this process. Studies suggest that students involved with suspension and expulsion are more likely to be held back and not finish school. In Maryland, the lack of capacity by school systems to support alternatives to expulsions particularly harms minority groups and schools with large minority populations. Early childhood is often when social and developmental disabilities are discovered, and expulsions used in response to outbursts and altercations can leave these underlying difficulties unaddressed. Instead of being punished and ostracized, our children require integration into learning environments conducive to their individual needs.
Because this bill supports the Maryland Green Party’s view that education is a lifelong and life-affirming process, and it comports to our values of a sustainable future, social justice, and equal opportunity for all, the Maryland Green Party endorses House Bill 425 and Senate Bill 651.