- The Georgia legislature approved an overhaul to the state's criminal justice system, including changes that target the school-to-prison pipeline and discipline policies that feed it.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Georgia Board of Education now must adopt minimum qualifications for hearing officers in school discipline cases and other members of the tribunal process.
- The board of education is considering a rule that would require districts to provide five hours of training for these individuals as well as ongoing training, and all future hearing officers would have to be active lawyers or people with experience in education.
The school-to-prison pipeline is said to start with discipline policies that disproportionately refer black and Latino youth to the juvenile justice system or otherwise set them up for future trouble with the law because of frequent suspensions and expulsions. Many schools throughout the country have taken it upon themselves to reduce suspensions and practice more empathetic forms of discipline, including restorative justice.
This model encourages student perpetrators to talk to the victims of their actions and develop a deeper understanding of the harm they have done. It also forces students to get to the root causes of their actions and fosters better understanding on all sides. Students who go through this process are more likely to smoothly reintegrate into their classes, and, because they are not kept from school, they do not fall behind in their class work like they might if they were suspended or expelled.