Measure calls for community service

ALBANY – State Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Schenectady, joined Assemblywoman Patricia A. Fahy, D-Albany, in introducing legislation that would allow for community service to be made an option in place of or in conjunction with suspension of students in public schools.

“Our bill would provide schools with greater flexibility in disciplining students. 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,” Farley said in a news release.

The bill would amend the state’s education law to include a provision that allows school administrators to provide community service to students who violate the district’s code of conduct.

Currently, school administrators may impose a variety of penalties to students, including detention, in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension for up to five days.

Should a significant violation in a district’s code of conduct take place, the violation is then referred to the district’s superintendent, the news release said. The superintendent’s only course of action is to provide a further suspension.

In certain situations, removing students from the school may be required in order to protect and preserve the safety and continuity of the learning environment for other students, the news release said.

However, in many cases, a prolonged absence from school can be counterproductive to the goal of schools: to prepare students to be contributing members of communities, according to the news release.