EDUCATION

Maryland zero-tolerance discipline policies banned at schools

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland education officials have approved changes to the state's discipline policy that are meant to cut back on suspensions and expulsions.

The State Board of Education approved the new regulations Tuesday. The changes come amid a national debate about whether too many students are suspended or expelled for offenses that could be handled in other ways.

Zero-tolerance discipline policies with automatic consequences will be banned under the regulations. Schools will now be required to adopt a rehabilitative approach to discipline, and suspensions and expulsions are referred to as a last result.

The state will also require school systems to track data to ensure that minority and special education students don't receive harsher punishment and to eliminate any such disparities.

A final vote on the policy is set for next month.

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