NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION

Submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Section 1(e)


(x) Memo on original draft of bill

() Memo on amended bill


BILL NUMBER: Assembly #

Senate #


SPONSORS: Member(s) of Assembly: Weisenberg

Senator(s):


TITLE OF BILL:


An act to amend the Education Law, in relation to providing information to parents prior to hearings for students facing long-term suspensions from school.


PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:


When a student is being suspended from school for more than five days, a fair hearing must be offered. This bill requires that prior to attending the hearing, the parent or guardian of the student must be provided with information concerning the Committee on Special Education (CSE) referral process.


SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:


Subparagraph 1 of paragraph c of subdivision 3 of section 3214 of the Education Law, as amended by Chapter 430 of the Laws of 2006 is amended.


JUSTIFICATION:


Under current law, when a student is suspended from school for more than five days, a fair hearing must be offered to allow the student opportunity to have counsel, question witnesses and to present witnesses and other evidence on his or her behalf. This legislation requires that the school district provide the parents or guardian of the student with information concerning the CSE referral process prior to the hearing.


For safety reasons, it is widely recognized that serious violations of a school district code of conduct must be dealt with in a timely manner and be consistent in implementation. It is not the intent of this bill to interfere with that process. However, repeated behavioral infractions can sometimes be the manifestation of a mental illness or other disabling condition. The bill requires that parents be provided with information on how to access school services (such as a psychological evaluation) when a student is facing a long term suspension.


In instances where a disability exists and has gone undiagnosed, repeated removal from school often exacerbates the condition and does not address the need to prevent further infractions. Providing the parents with information on where to seek school related services at this juncture will offer an alternative approach that may be warranted if the student has an undiagnosed disability.


For example, under the provisions of this bill, the information to be provided to parents would include the name and contact information for the Chairperson of the school district’s Committee on Special Education or another individual who is already charged with processing referrals to the committee, and the manner in which a parent may refer their child. This information already exists within school district policy. Therefore, the cost factor is negligible.



PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None


EFFECTIVE DATE:


This act shall take effect July 1, 2013