New Ohio Bill Prevents Schools from Suspending or Expelling Truant Students

Thanks to a new House bill, schools in Ohio can no longer suspend or expel students for missing too much school.

"There are many reasons students miss school, but districts often can directly impact their students' attendance," the bill says. "By using data to identify and support students who may need extra support and services, districts can target supports to get students to school every day."

Now, rather than face criminal charges for excessive absences, students will work with teachers, counselors and principals over 60-day periods to raise their attendance rates.

"The team is cross-sector and ideally includes the participation of the student and the parent," the bill says. "This requirement is new and is aimed at breaking down barriers to attendance without filing criminal complaints against the student in juvenile court."

The legislation includes stipulations that will decriminalize "excessive truancy," and remove "chronic truant" from the law. The bill was passed in December 2016, and lists counseling, mediation, parent education and parenting programs (among other methods) as ways of helping students who miss too much school.

“I believe it's asking all educators to view truancy as a barrier as you would for any scholar who struggles to sit still or who struggles to read,” Lorri Hobson, Director of Attendance of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, told News 5 Cleveland.

Bill 410 will be in place this school year across Ohio, and apply to online learning as well.