COLUMBUS—State Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) today introduced legislation aimed at strengthening the ability of Ohio’s school districts to address dangerous behaviors among students.
“This legislation will provide school administrators with the tools they need to keep their students safe while ensuring that the student who was removed receives the appropriate help that he or she needs,” said Hottinger. “Creating mental health treatment plans for students who display dangerous behavior fosters safe school environments that make it easier for students to learn, and gives troubled youth the help they deserve.”
This legislation stems from concerns brought up by Superintendent Dave Hile of Licking Valley High School. It mirrors House Bill 334, sponsored by Senator Hottinger, which passed the House of Representatives in 2014 with bipartisan support and was supported by the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials
Under current Ohio law, a student must commit a serious violation of the school’s code of conduct before a school superintendent has the authority to expel the student for the remainder of the semester.
This bill, if enacted, would grant superintendents greater authority to expel students in certain situations in which a student threatens the safety of others, even if the student has not directly violated the school’s code of conduct.
Additionally, the bill seeks to address underlying behavioral concerns by making mental health treatment available for students who demonstrate potentially dangerous behaviors. Treatment plans would be developed by accredited mental health professionals, and would focus on improving the mental health of the child so they may safely return to the classroom.