23 March 2023
Gov. Joe Lombardo is set to make a rare appearance in the Legislature on Thursday afternoon to testify in support of a school discipline measure sponsored by his office.
A spokesperson for Lombardo’s office said the Republican governor will testify before lawmakers for the first time this session on AB330, dubbed by supporters as the “Safer and Supportive Schools Act.” He will testify on the bill Thursday during a 1:30 p.m. meeting of the Assembly Education Committee.
The measure seeks to achieve a campaign promise Lombardo made to repeal the changes implemented by a 2019 bill (AB168) that removed requirements for students to be expelled for certain violent acts and established “restorative justice” policies — practices involving non-punitive intervention and support to improve student behavior.
“We don’t need any more examples of school violence. We’ve seen enough,” Lombardo said during his State of the State address in January. “It’s time to act and repeal the most onerous sections of this law and in their place create a structure that works for educators, parents and students.”
The bill is supported by the state’s 17 county-level superintendents, the Clark County Education Association, the Clark County Association of School Administrators and the Charter School Association of Nevada, a spokesperson for the governor’s office told The Nevada Independent.
Lombardo’s proposed bill is one of at least three measures seeking to change or shift the restorative justice policy made during the 2019 session, two of which include Democratic and Republican sponsors and were heard by lawmakers last week.
On the campaign trail, Lombardo tied the 2019 bill to increases in school violence in Clark County, calling it “a disaster for our students and teachers.”
His push for repealing the 2019 law comes with support from the Better Nevada PAC — a group that spent millions of dollars to support his campaign for governor. The PAC publicized a digital advertisement Wednesday highlighting violence in schools and Lombardo’s push to change school safety policies. It also highlighted polling showing support for Lombardo’s school safety plans, though it has not publicly released details of the poll. The ad comes via the Service First Fund, which is seeking petition signatures from Nevadans in support of Lombardo’s bill.
Lombardo’s bill would repeal a law requiring the development of a statewide framework for restorative justice and would require the expulsion of a student who commits battery resulting in the bodily harm of a teacher, or who sells or distributes any controlled substance.
In recent months, teachers have advocated for legislation to address student violence and described the 2019 bill as effectively handcuffing educators from disciplining students. The Nevada State Education Association has supported both AB285 and AB194, which would do away with some of the restrictions on exclusionary disciplinary practices such as suspensions and expulsions put in place in 2019.
Assemblywoman Angie Taylor (D-Reno) sponsored one of those bills. She said during a hearing on the bill last week that neither she nor educators want to expel children from the classroom but they do want to establish a safe learning environment. Taylor, a former Washoe County School District trustee, said she wants to find a way to balance these problems.
The post Lombardo to testify before lawmakers on bill repealing ‘restorative justice’ law appeared first on The Nevada Independent.