On March 13, 2018, Gabriella Celeste offered written testimony to the Ohio Senate Finance Committee in support of SB246. Introduced by Senator Lehner, SB 246, also known as the SAFE Act, would limit how and when schools can issue a suspension for students in grades K-3, require principals to consult with mental health professionals prior to suspension or expulsion, and require schools to implement a positive behavior intervention and support framework. As Celeste noted in her testimony, “In Ohio, we suspend thousands of our youngest students from school every year and we do so, as a matter of discipline, without addressing the underlying causes of student behavior.” SB 246 would provide teachers and schools with the tools to build a positive school climate which has been shown to improve school safety and increase academic success.
Update: On May 16, 2018 the Ohio Senate unanimously passed SB 246. It will now go to the House of Representatives.
SB 246 became a part of HB 318, which was passed on June 6, 2018.