ST. LOUIS (KTVI)– A bill set for its first hearing in a Missouri General Assembly committee this week would prohibit schools from suspending students in preschool to third grade, and would prohibit suspending children at all for truancy, absences or prior offenses.

House Bill 2533, sponsored by State Representative Dottie Bailey, a Eureka Republican will be heard in the House Special Committee on Government Oversight Tuesday. A similar measure has been sponsored by Ian Mackey, a Clayton area Democrat.

The legislation also requires school districts to write an annual report on school discipline.

National Public Radio in Kansas City reported earlier this month that overall, suspension numbers have been on the decline, there are still concerns that racial disparities continue in terms of discipline. A Saint Louis University study published in January of 2021 looked at data between 2005-06 and 2018-19, and still found “suspension rates were over five times as high in predominantly minority schools.”

The House versions would also require school boards “consider reasonable alternative
measures to suspension.”

A similar bill in the Senate by Kansas City area State Senator Lauren Arthur has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.