Senate Bill 297 was proposed by Senator Jim Hughes on March 21, 2016. This Bill seeks to amend Ohio’s student discipline statutes to address threats of violence made by students.
The proposed Bill would allow a board of education to adopt a resolution to permit a superintendent to expel a student for up to 60 days for “communicating a threat to kill or do physical harm to persons or property” if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The threat is communicated verbally or in writing, in person or via telephone, computer, or with another electronic communication device; and
  • The threat is made against persons or property at a school, on a bus, at an athletic competition, extracurricular event, other program or activity sponsored by the school district or in which the district participates, or at any other property controlled by the board of education; and
  • The student engaged in “conduct that constitutes a substantial step in a course intended to culminate in the commission of the threatened act, as determined by the superintendent in consultation” with law enforcement.

As a condition to reinstatement from expulsion, the board of education can require the student to undergo an assessment to determine whether the student poses a danger to himself/herself or to others. The superintendent may extend the expulsion for not more than one calendar year if the student fails to undergo the assessment.
A student expelled under this Bill can only be reinstated if the superintendent determines that the student has shown sufficient rehabilitation.

Another provision in this Bill allows a board of education or law enforcement agency to file a civil action seeking recovery for restitution from the parent, guardian, or custodian of a student who is expelled under this Bill. Restitution sought is for the costs of the school district or law enforcement agency that are incurred with the student’s conduct that gave rise to the expulsion.
This Bill was just recently introduced and must make its way through the legislative process before it becomes law. We will continue to keep our clients updated on its status.