CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Over the summer, West Virginia state legislators passed a bill that states if students are evicted from the classroom for disruptive behavior more than three times in one month, they will be dismissed to out-of-school suspension (OSS).
House Bill 2890 was assembled with the intent to help take the burden of discipline away from teachers, but now that the bill is in effect, some argue that the law could displace students from the classroom.
The law applies to Kindergarten through 12th-grade students in the classroom and on school buses and indicates that if a student is removed from the classroom for behavioral issues, they are denied access back to the classroom for the remainder of the day.
If the student’s behavior continues and all reasonable measures have been “exhausted,” the bill states that, “isolating students or placing them in alternative learning centers may be the best setting for chronically disruptive students.” From there, the bill says, “The county board shall create more alternative learning centers or expand its capacity for alternative placements, subject to funding, to correct these students’ behaviors so they can return to a regular classroom without engaging in further disruptive behavior.”
Like many education administrators, Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell told 12 News that he keeps track of most educational legislation, and pointed out both negative and positive aspects of HB 2890.
He agreed that the bill does relieve teachers of some of the emotional stress of dealing with students’ bad behavior.
“A lot of kids bring a lot of baggage to the classroom, and it doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with the school system. It’s things that are going on in their own lives with their own families and their own communities, and our teachers are the ones who have to deal with a lot of that baggage everyday,” said Campbell.
On the other side, Campbell pointed out that students who have behavioral problems and are removed from classrooms can get behind educationally.
“We need to keep our kids in the classroom, if at all possible. We can’t learn, we can’t provide instruction to our kids if they’re sitting in school suspension or they’re down in the principal’s office or they’re sent home because they’re having behavioral issues. We have to find ways to support kids who are having those emotional problems and find ways to be able to keep them in the classroom.”
With many school systems nationwide seeing a considerable increase in social and emotional issues in the classroom, some other concerns are that teachers with personal issues may abuse the authority granted by the bill and that special needs students who don’t have the ability to defend themselves might be negatively impacted.
In Monongalia County, Campbell said the school district was fortunate to have already implemented a tiered support system for students struggling academically that makes the application of the new legislature much more subtle.
For schools who are working on creating a system from scratch, Campbell said that administrators should sit down with their staff and make sure they are taking advantage of resources and support systems that are available in their county.