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Changes in Suspension Law Postponed Until July 1, 2009

June 20, 2008

Authors: Andreana R. Bellach, Gary R. Brochu, Anne H. Littlefield

Governor Rell has signed into law Public Act 08-160, β€œAn Act Concerning School Learning Environment.” The most significant change in the law is the delay in the implementation of Public Act 07-66, which had created a presumption in favor of in-school suspensions, and allowed out-of-school suspensions only in limited circumstances. The implementation date of the limitation on out-of-school suspensions has been postponed from July 1, 2008 until July 1, 2009. The significance of this delay is that there will be no legal change in how suspensions may be handled during the 2008-2009 school year.

Effective July 1, 2009, the length of a permissible in-school suspension will increase from five days to ten days. The law will also permit in-school suspensions to be served in any school within the district. Out-of-school suspensions will be allowed only if the school administration determines that a student poses such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that the student should be excluded from school during the period of suspension. The legislation also requires the State Department of Education to issue guidelines by October 1, 2008, to give guidance to school districts as to how to determine whether a suspension may be served in-school or out-of-school under the new standards. The law will also permit in-school suspensions to be served in any school within the district.

If you have any questions about this alert, please contact Andreana Bellach at abellach@goodwin.com, Gary Brochu at gbrochu@goodwin.com, or Anne Littlefield at alittlefield@goodwin.com.

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