HB 318: Discipline Changes

One of the last pieces of legislation the Ohio General Assembly approved before adjourning for the summer recess was House Bill 318. It was originally introduced in 2017 with the purpose of establishing qualification and training guidelines for School Resource Officers. In June, the Senate Education Committee amended HB 318 to include provisions from an unrelated and separate Senate bill. The bill was signed into law by Ohio’s governor and took effect on Nov. 2, 2018.

House Bill 318 classifies out-of-school suspensions and expulsions in grades PreK–3 into one of three categories:

  • Category 1: A serious and specific offense for which suspension or expulsion is required by law (e.g., bringing a firearm to school) or permitted by law (e.g., possessing a firearm).
  • Category 2: An offense not listed in Category 1 but for which the school district or school determined suspension was necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student, the student’s fellow classmates, or the classroom staff or teachers.
  • Category 3: A “minor offense” that neither belongs in Category 1 or Category 2.

Beginning in 2021–2022, school districts are prohibited to suspend or expel students in grades PreK–3 for minor offenses (Category 3). This prohibition is phased-in with required reductions in Category 3 suspensions beginning in the 2019–2020 school year. The District has not yet defined which offenses in PreK–3 merit suspension to “protect the immediate health and safety of the student, the student’s fellow classmates, or the classroom staff or teachers”.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, administrators and teachers can institute an emergency removal for students whose presence “poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process”. Prior to HB 318, students could be removed for up to three days pending the emergency removal hearing. As a result of HB 318, the emergency removal process has changed. Changes to the process include:

  • PreK–3 students can be removed for the remainder of the school day without a hearing, however they must return to school the next day.
  • PreK–3 students cannot receive an emergency removal and an out-of-school suspension or an expulsion unless the student’s offense is a Category 1 or Category 2 infraction.
  • Emergency removal hearings for any student PreK–12 are required to be held the next school day.

Keep reading the The CEA Voice for important HB 318-related updates.