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Maryland board of education considers new discipline regulations

Maryland education officials moved a step closer to issuing new regulations on school discipline Tuesday, voicing support for a set of changes a statewide work group has proposed.

The changes the Maryland State Board of Education is considering would give the state’s 24 school systems more flexibility in managing discipline cases during appeals and provide more description of circumstances in cases that could lead to extended suspensions or expulsions of students.

The regulations also would require that students suspended for short periods — one to three days — get the chance to complete school work they missed.

A new set of proposed regulations is expected to come back to the board for a vote in July or August, officials said.

The changes discussed Tuesday follow a series of meetings held by a statewide work group that included critics of some of the board’s efforts to reshape discipline practices, which have been underway for more than two years.

The board has been seeking to reduce out-of-school suspensions, keep more students in class and end racial disparities in discipline. It has emphasized a more rehabilitative approach toward student misconduct.

“I think we have resolved a lot of the confusion around what we were actually doing and what people were afraid we were doing,” board member James DeGraffenreidt Jr. said.

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.

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