Get Out of Trouble Free Card

On Monday morning, I received numerous text messages alerting me to the "T-bone and Heather " radio show, which, at the time, discussed disruptive student behavior at our public schools. Since Annapolis updated the behavior discipline guidelines, dealing with disruptive student behavior has been a persistent challenge. HB615 stands out as one of the most disconnected and insensitive bills I've encountered in years. This bill prohibits the punishment of students for disruptive and threatening behavior in both K-12 schools and colleges. (Link to the bill)

You might ask yourself, how in the world, in today's chaotic education setting, do Democratic politicians think this would be a good idea?

Yesterday, I offered an amendment to HB615. The amendment said that any student violating the behavior subsection shall be prohibited from participating in or attending extracurricular activities for a year.

The amendment had no criminal component but was designed to be another tool to provide for some consequences and accountability for those students who engage in disruptive behavior. I am pleased to mention that the amendment aligned with the position supported by MABE (Maryland Association of Boards of Education) about the bill. MABE is the association that represents all locally elected school boards in the state of Maryland.

The amendment set off a firey half-hour debate in the House. Once again, the committee had difficulty explaining the bill's benefits and why they contended that the amendment was unjustified. When faced with trouble and their backs to the wall, the floor leaders predictably ran to their safe haven talking point of claiming racism. As unbelievable as it sounds, the committee said that this simple, non-criminal amendment would contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline and claimed racism. The message is that it is now racist to insist on proper civil behavior and penalties in schools.

Watch the video yourself:

The amendment was voted down mostly down party lines, with one Democrat voting with me and with another Democrat running off the floor, skipping the vote. The bill now moves to the third reader and is set to pass the House and move to the Senate tomorrow.