The beginning of each school year brings a sense of newness: a new teacher, school supplies, and sometimes new friends. This time is also an important time to reflect on the new laws that went into effect over the summer.
Each spring the state legislature meets in Baton Rouge to discuss legislation. Some of their ideas become law over the summer (though some of the laws will take longer to put into place). As school starts again, these decisions will affect our children in Louisiana. That’s why it is important that parents, teachers, students, and advocates participate in this decision-making process, even if we do so by simply staying informed. For this reason, Equity in All Places created a list of 25 education measures that became law this summer
Many of these laws will impact the school-to-prison pipeline. On the front end of the pipeline is school push-out, caused by a problematic response to misbehavior and misinformed discipline approaches. Push-out was addressed in a new law that will create a council that will review data on discipline measures and advise BESE. In the area of juvenile justice, a package of juvenile justice reforms passed this year thanks to the hard work and dedication of Senator J.P. Morrell and our colleagues at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. These new laws will create more accountability and oversight over the juvenile justice system. They will give more kids opportunities to stay home instead of going into juvenile detention, and keep more 17-year olds out of adult prison.
Many other important measures have passed as well, such as requiring that schools post the child abuse hotline and teach financial management as well as cursive writing. See the List of 25 New Laws.
Moreover, for a more detailed list of legislation that would have addressed the school-to-prison pipeline, impacted our New Orleans education system, or affected equity, we have provided a 2016 Legislative Summary, which includes legislation that failed to become law. It is important to note these bills because they may be re-introduced in the future.