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Connecticut Pushes Bill to Reduce School Arrests
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HB 5432 is waiting for the state Judiciary Committee to decide its fate. The proposed bill intends to reduce drastically the numbers of children arrested from Schools and requires local and regional boards of education to create and put into effect policies to define the role of law enforcement assigned to schools. Also, data from school-based arrests would become more accessible to the public.

The HB 5432 is the result of what lawmakers see as excessive and mindless application of regulations upon school students. A staff attorney for the Center of Children’s Advocacy told the media that there had been close to a thousand school-based arrest cases in only six months between September 2011 and February 2012.

State Rep. James Albis said, “I think we need to be wary of the effects of school-based arrests on those children, in addition to the effects of suspensions and expulsions.”

  
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Abby Anderson, the Executive Director of Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance told the media, “I know that when people hear school arrests they assume we mean weapons and drugs, but we are usually talking about common fights and things like smoking a cigarette.”

Hannah Benton, an attorney for Center of Children’s Advocacy told patch.com that “Research has shown that school-based arrests makes kids more disengaged from their education … Obviously we are not saying it’s wrong for arrests in certain cases. The idea is to address other problems and handle them in a more productive way.”

Along with the HB 5432, another bill meant for the school environments, the HB 5220 would also be heard by the Judicial Committee.

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HB 5520 wants a ban on simulated guns.

State Rep. Kim Fawcett, vice chairman of the legislature’s Select Committee on Children said, “The proposed legislation not only protects our kids, but also protects our public safety officials and helps eliminate the possibility of a tragic accident involving young people who purchase these guns for fun.”



Since simulated guns, though toys are quite difficult to differentiate from real guns from their looks, they pose real risks of triggering security concerns and false alarms.

Recently a report of the Council of State Governments Justice Center found that for the period of time surveyed, at least half of all Texas seventh graders had been disciplined with a suspension, and those who experienced such disciplinary measures were more likely to turn against the law later in life. This research also involved the Public Policy Research Institute of Texas A&M University.

Children who are publicly disciplined run the chance of being socially ostracized and alienated, and reformatory measures like that taking place in Connecticut are required in many states, we feel.



 

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