HOUSE DEMOCRATS NEWS
Legislation limiting the use of out-of-school suspension or expulsion as disciplinary methods in New Mexico schools due to their often counterproductive repercussions passed the House of Representatives Monday, and will now move to the Senate.
Sponsored by Rep. Raymundo “Ray” Lara (D-Chamberino), House Bill 93 requires suspension or expulsion to be used only as a last resort when required for the safety of students or staff, or by federal law. Such extreme disciplinary measures cannot be used unless all other intervention methods including restorative justice practices and positive behavioral support have been exhausted. The process must take into account a child’s personal circumstances, such as homelessness, foster care placement, or other adverse childhood experiences.
“Reprimanding students with expulsion or out-of-school suspension causes them to lose learning time, which results in academic repercussions, damage to student performance, and negatively reduced engagement in education,” said Rep. Lara. “Further, students attending high-suspension rate schools are more likely to be arrested and incarcerated later in life, and are less likely to continue with higher education.”
Rep. Lara continued: “A child may act out at school as a result of a multitude of issues at home, including poverty, violence, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, mental health issues, or instability in the household. School is often a place of stability and security for these students, so our learning institutions should apply all possible measures, including conflict resolution, mentoring, parent conferences, and schedule rearrangements before we resorting to removing the student from their educational environment.”
Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.