Colorado lawmakers moved forward last week with a plan to scale back the state’s post-Columbine school disciplinary policies that they say have led to mandatory expulsions for offenses such as inadvertently having a butter knife in a backpack.
The proposal, given preliminary approval by a legislative committee, seeks to give education officials more discretion over expulsions and police referrals, which lawmakers say became more common after the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, where two students killed 13 people and then themselves.
Committee members said that zero-tolerance policies adopted during the past decade have tied the hands of school administrators, who are forced to expel students for minor infractions. About 100,000 students statewide have been referred to police during the past decade.
A version of this article appeared in the October 26, 2011 edition of Education Week as Colo. Lawmakers Vote to Ease Post-Columbine Discipline