Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 13, 2017
Sen. Ron Sharp
Out-of-school suspension approved for violent
Student violence towards other students, teachers and school staff
in Oklahoma’s elementary schools is a growing problem. Retired
educator Sen. Ron
Sharp is the author of Senate Bill 81 to address the issue by
lowering the grade level from sixth to third at which students can
be subject to out-of-school suspension for violent behavior or threats.
The Senate Education Committee approved the measure Monday.
“Teachers aren’t licensed counselors but every day they’re
faced with children acting out from abuse, divorces, neglect and
other issues, and it’s happening in elementary schools,”
said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Not only is this a distraction in
the classroom but it can also be dangerous when children act out
in rage overturning chairs, tables and in some cases hitting, shoving
or in some other way assaulting others or threatening to harm them.
We have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our classrooms
and allowing out-of-school suspensions is one of the ways we can
Currently, 6th-12th graders are subject to out-of-school suspension
if they assault, attempt to cause physical bodily injury, or act
in a manner that could reasonably cause bodily injury to an education
employee or a person who is volunteering for the school. SB 81 will
add third to fifth graders to the list.
The legislation was requested by Professional Oklahoma Educators
(POE) who told Sharp that they were getting increasing reports of
younger students (3rd-5th graders) being violent towards teachers
and asked him to file legislation to protect them and other school
“These unruly students need to know that violence or the threat
of it won’t be tolerated. I want to thank Professional Oklahoma
Educators for bringing this issue to our attention,” said
The bill will next be heard by the full Senate.
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