State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C, I - Schenectady) announced that the Senate today passed legislation allowing schools the option of requiring students to perform community service as an alternative to being suspended.
“Our bill would provide schools with greater flexibility in disciplining students,” Senator Farley said. “While suspension may be appropriate in many cases, there are other situations where an alternate approach may be more effective and more beneficial to both the student and the affected community.”
Under current law, schools impose a variety of penalties to students that include detention, in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension.
Under current law, principals can suspend students for up to 5 days. For a school superintendent, the only options available under state law are to either expel a student or suspend them for more than 5 days.
Community service does not detract from classroom time, ensuring that the student continues to receive an education. In contrast, the threat of suspension can sometimes be counterproductive. Some students do not view it as a punishment but as a “vacation” from school. Because community service requires the student to commit their own personal time, it is more likely to make a greater impression on them.
The Senator’s bill passed the Senate today and was sent to the Assembly for its consideration.