Public Comments for: HB89 - Disorderly conduct in public places; provisions shall not apply to student in grades kindergarten-8.
Last Name: Irwin Locality: Mechanicsville

My name is Daniel Irwin and I am writing in opposition to HB89, which would effectively allow schools to charge students with disorderly conduct if the offense occurs on school property. I have been working in schools for close to 20 years and working with students with significant challenging behaviors. I cannot stress enough how ineffective and harmful this bill can be. First, there is no provision for students with disabilities or students in mental health crisis. There are a variety of reasons that students engage in disruptive behavior and the threat of criminal charges is not likely to change them. Schools exist to support students, not just academically, but socially, emotionally, and behaviorally as well. Students who act out at school need support, not further punishment. They are children. Stop criminalizing trauma. Stop criminalizing mental health needs. This bill sets the stage for further criminalization of minority students, specifically black students. Black students are already 4.5 times more likely to be suspended than white students. Black students make up 22% of the school population, but 52% of suspensions statewide. Black individuals also make up a disproportionate share of the incarcerated population. Why would we want to speed up the school to prison pipeline? Disorderly conduct is a loosely defined concept that is wide open to interpretation/ misinterpretation. It is just another opportunity for students to encounter consequences that are not likely to have a positive impact on their lives. This is a poorly crafted bill that provides schools with another punitive option that will do very little to change student behavior and will likely damage the relationship between the school and student. Schools have the capacity to issue suspensions, expulsions and other punitive procedures. These procedures are often ineffective "strategies" to change behavior. By eliminating the exemption for students in this bill, you are sending the message that a bigger or more severe punishment is what is needed. It is not. Students need supportive communities, comprehensive mental health support, family support, and instruction in social emotional learning so that they can develop skills to manage emotions and behavior. Further, teachers need more resources to support students in this way, This includes professional development, social emotional curriculum, and embedded school support that address the underlying causes of disruptive behavior. School teams should be empowered to develop plans to support students through a responsive tiered system of supports including functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plans. The science of behavior has come a long way and it should be utilized. All behavior happens for a reason. It is our job as educators to find the reason and help students develop healthy, appropriate means for getting their needs met.

Last Name: Kelty Locality: Fairfax County

I am outraged that HB89 was resurrected as a substitute. The disorderly conduct charges to be reported under this bill to Law Enforcement and the HB4 that will report ALL incidents to law enforcement leaves every student in a behavioral health crisis being sent to the Juvenile Justice System. There is no protection for Autism students or DD or mental health crisis. You are throwing these children out along with their education. VOTE NO on HB89 and stop this ridiculous action.

Last Name: Breaux Organization: Autistic Student Throughout VA Locality: Fairfax

I plead with the reconsideration of this bill. It is unfair, ridiculous, ludicrous and unbelievable in this days and age when is to be recognized that a person’s behavior is not always in their control. My own son is a brilliant young man fully invested in academics and the world around him. However he is also a nonspeaking autistic epileptic and there are times of extreme stress and/or fear when regardless of Alternative/Augmented means of communication he would NOT be able to easily and readily communicate this and would perhaps only have behaviors as a means of conveying his distress. He is actually part of the Marcus Alert program that is working to educate police and EMTS to medical and psychological behaviors in certain instances and to not have then escalate to needing any type of legal action be involved. And change IS HAPPENING! How can it possibly be that our state is considering going BACKWARDS in this? Shame shame shame. Please do what is needed d to be fair and just for all citizens especially those that have such a hard and challenging time having their very important and critical voices being heard! Thank you for your true and honorable consideration.

Last Name: Poe Organization: Advocating 4 Kids, Inc Locality: Virginia Beach

VOTE NO on HB89 This Bill WILL unintentionally place students and families into the courts when the issues can be resolved within the school environment. Students who struggle with honoring norms and expectations need support, services, and resources. The definition of disorderly conduct is vague and can be used punitively by school resource officers or school staff against a student. If something arises from a crime, there is a punishment that can be had outside of disorderly conduct. In 2015 Virginia was publically shamed for its treatment of children when it was ranked top in the Nation for sending students into the court systems. (https://publicintegrity.org/education/virginia-tops-nation-in-sending-students-to-cops-courts-where-does-your-state-rank/). HB89 will do away with all the hard work of ensuring that schools are safe spaces for ALL children. Including those with developmental and environmental weaknesses which need resources and not punishment. HB 89 will target black and brown students for police involvement and does nothing to engage the positive community and school relationships. This Bill will set up Virginia for federal class-action discrimination law suites. Schools should engage with parent and community resources to develop and implement corrective and restorative plans rather than throwing children into juvenile justice services. There are NO protections for children with mental health issues, students with autism, or disabilities. This Bill, along with HB4, which requires principals to report incidents to Law Enforcement, is waging war on students and criminalizing student behaviors. There is no research or evidence that supports criminalizing a student's behaviors keeps school safe or changes the students' behaviors. Please read the below testimony, which provides additional resources on WHY you should vote NO on HB89 https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/12-12-12TeskeTestimony.pdf Please show compassion for our most vulnerable members of society, our children, and VOTE NO on HB89. Cheryl A Poe Executive Director Advocating 4 Kids, Inc

Last Name: Jessup Locality: Hampton

VOTE NO on HB89 Students do not need to be sent to the Juvenile Justice system for conduct that should be handled by school staff. The definition of disorderly conduct is vague and can be used punitively by school resource officers or school staff against a student. If something arises to a crime there is a punishment that can be had outside of disorderly conduct. A student can be given in-school suspension or out of school suspension or expulsion—Handle this conduct inside the schools. Schools should engage with parent and come up with a plan rather than throwing them into juvenile justice services. There are NO protections for children with mental health issues or students with autism or students with disabilities. This bill along with HB4 which requires principals to report incidents to Law Enforcement is waging war on students and criminalizing student behaviors.

Last Name: Champion Organization: Virginia Autism Project Locality: Springfield

I am outraged that this HB89 was resurrected as a substitute. The disorderly conduct charges to be reported under this bill to Law Enforcement and the HB4 that will report ALL incidents to law enforcement leaves every student in a behavioral health crisis being sent to the Juvenile Justice System. There is no protection for Autism students or DD or mental health crisis. You are throwing these children to the dogs and destroying anyone wanting to go to public schools... oh wait, I guess I connected the dots. So you will remove any funding for private special education students to go to private schools and send them back to home public schools and self contain them (SB356). Funnel all neurotypical students to private school placements by making anyone in public school subject to Law Enforcement and then what? When does this stop? VOTE NO on HB89.

Last Name: rogers Organization: ARC OF VA Locality: blacksburg

VOTE NO on HB89 Students do not need to be sent to the Juvenile Justice system for conduct that should be handled by school staff. The definition of disorderly conduct is vague and can be used punitively by school resource officers or school staff against a student. If something arises to a crime there is a punishment that can be had outside of disorderly conduct. A student can be given in-school suspension or out of school suspension or expulsion—Handle this conduct inside the schools. Schools should engage with parent and come up with a plan rather than throwing them into juvenile justice services. There are NO protections for children with mental health issues or students with autism or students with disabilities. This bill along with HB4 which requires principals to report incidents to Law Enforcement is waging war on students and criminalizing student behaviors. both are trrble nnd garbage get rid of them please!!!!!!

Last Name: Harris Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother and teacher of children with disabilities, PLEASE DO NOT allow HB89 to stand without exceptions for those with mental health problems and disabilities!!! If my son was to act out and be charged with disorderly conduct and sent to a detention center, when the behavior is a manifestation of his disability, it would cause irreparable harm and only lead to further behavioral and academic issues. I have been attacked as a teacher and I would have never wanted that child to go to jail! They need mental health services NOT to be put into the system. This bill is outrageous and should be immediately shut down!

Last Name: Matsh Locality: Prince william

Please vote for this bill. The training should be optional.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am a teacher in Fairfax County and I am writing to urge you to vote no on HB 89. This bill criminalizes student behavior and exacerbates the school-to-prison pipeline. Students of color and students with disabilities would be disproportionately negatively impacted by this bill. Instead of increasing the presence of law enforcement in our public schools, please instead focus on getting students the mental health support they need by staffing counselors, psychologists and social workers at the ratios recommended in the SOQs and lifting the support staff cap. Please vote no on this bill.

Last Name: Carter Locality: Lynchburg

As the mother of a child with Autism, I strongly urge the Education Committe to vote "NO" on HB89! This bill will harm our children and criminalize their behavior.

Last Name: Senter Locality: King George

I strongly urge the Education Committee to vote "No" on HB 89. I am a speech-language pathologist with years of experience working in public schools, and I have also co-authored research manuscripts about communication disorders in youth offenders. Whereas only one in thirteen children have a condition called "Developmental Language Disorder" which impacts their ability to communicate and comprehend, this disorder is prevalent in over 60% of youth offenders! Children who cannot communicate as well as their same-age peers are more likely to demonstrate behavior problems, and when they encounter law enforcement officers, they are less equipped to understand and follow basic instructions, much less complex instructions like the Miranda rights. Rather than passing legislation like HB 89, which seeks to expand the school-to-prison pipeline (which disproportionately targets children with disabilities and minorities), we must aim to prevent these problems before they happen. Properly-funded education will reduce criminality, and legislation which supports school counselors, SLPs, small class sizes, school psychologists, and special education teachers will be more effective at preventing and reducing delinquency than this ill-conceived bill. Instead, I encourage you to pass bills like HB 547, which aim to support school SLPs. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at rrsenter@umd.edu. Thank you!

Last Name: Cooper-Gould Locality: Reston, VA

Vote No on HB89 - This bill will hugely harm students with disabilities, especially those with autism and other developmental disabilities. Children with disabilities have complex behaviors and needs, this bill would further stigmatize these children, punish them for their disabilities and force them out of the education setting and into the school to prison pipeline.

Last Name: Tolson Organization: May Center for ABA Services Locality: Richmond

Dear Delegates, I work for the May Institute where we provide medically necessary services to persons with autism and related disabilities. In my profession, we provide therapy to increase more socially acceptable behavior, as well as decrease problem behavior. I have run across many scenarios where school districts lack the support that they need to provide persons with disabilities a free and accessible education. Many times they are suspended without any sort of plan on what to do next when they come back. It can become cyclical at times. I feel that this bill would create more barriers for children and adolescence to get the therapeutic support that they need. In addition, it would further stigmatize these individuals with disabilities as being "bad" kids. I am asking everyone to vote "no" on this bill. Virginia already does not have a great track record when it comes to this.

Last Name: Jessup Locality: Hampton

This bill will further criminalize behavior of children. Virginia already reports students for criminal conduct as much as three times the national average. (From a study of U.S. Department of Education data.) Students with disabilities frequently have a behavioral crisis at school. Behavior of children, all children but especially children with special needs, should not continue to criminalized.

Last Name: Jacobs Locality: Vienna

Stop criminalizing behavior of children! Vote NO to HB89!! Children acting out often have home issues or health issues or other things as a root cause of behavior. They need assistance and age appropriate services to help them, not be treated like criminals. Vote NO to HB89!

Last Name: Mcmillan Locality: Woodbridge

I would like to comment that there should be a no vote from all of you for this bill My son can become overstimulated and have a meltdown at the store He should not be charged if he can’t control what happens to his brain during a meltdown He is not the only one

Last Name: Slater Organization: RISE for Youth & NAACP Locality: Richmond

Vote no on HB89. Even with our recent legislative actions to support students rather than criminalize adolescent behavior, Virginia remains a national leader in referring students to law enforcement from school. It was only in 2020 that Virginia repealed disorderly conduct from school discipline options. We have been in the throes of a pandemic for the last 2 years and have not had an opportunity to reap the benefits of alternative supports to keep our children in school rather than in court. Vote no on HB89. It takes Virginia backwards instead of forwards at a time when our children need more support than ever. We must not move back to using the court system for school discipline.

Last Name: Bunkua Locality: Loudoun County

Hello. Thank you for the work this committee is doing. It is so important. However, I am deeply concerned as a parent of a special needs child with HB89. I cannot imagine a worse bill to feed the school to prison pipeline and incriminate our special needs, unless you rounded them up and place them in a detention center. This bill is the equivalent of doing that to our children. Please vote no to this bill. Our children are often suspended and expelled as a result of their disability. In Loudoun our numbers are very high in disciplining special needs children but adding disorderly conduct to that is not the solution. Lowering classroom ratios, adding a social emotional program like Zones of Regulation, and more counselors with less case loads could help turn things around in elementary and middle school. It requires a significant investment but our children are worth it. Respectfully, Heidi Bunkua

Last Name: Money Locality: York

Vote no on HB 89.

Last Name: Holmes Locality: Fairfax County

VOTE NO on HB89-- This bill will further criminalize behavior of children. Virginia already reports students for criminal conduct as much as three times the national average. (From a study of U.S. Department of Education data.) Students with disabilities frequently have a behavioral crisis at school. Behavior of children, all children but especially children with special needs, should not continue to be criminalized. Please vote NO!

Last Name: Little Locality: Chesterfield County

This bill as introduced allows no relief nor distinction amongst those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, such as Autism and other similar neurological disorders. Persons must not be criminalized due to disabilities, and instead supported with proper, adequate care, mental health and behavioral supports. Please do not criminalize our children with disabilities wherein some behaviors and actions are completely and legitimately out of their control. Support, not incarcerate.

Last Name: DelDonna Locality: Virginia Beach

Voting No on HB89

Last Name: Carneal Locality: York County

Please vote no on HB89. It would unfairly impact autistic and developmentally disabled children.

Last Name: Seyba Locality: Yorktown

Please vote no on this bill. My son has Autism and I would hate to think if he has a meltdown one day that he could be charged with a crime. Thanks

Last Name: Pittard Locality: Arlington

Stop criminalizing the behavior of children! Vote NO on HB89.

Last Name: Kelty Locality: Fairfax

Please do not vote for HB 89.

Last Name: Whitt Locality: McLean

I have three kids with Pandas/Pans. PANS is considered to be inflammation of the basal ganglia and is thought to be caused by infections and other inflammatory reactions. PANS causes dramatic changes in my child and makes it so they are not in control of themselves. It requires urgent, aggressive medical treatment. These are the kids who have behavioral issues and disorderly conduct. Please consider these children and educate yourself on this disease before passing a bill like this.

Last Name: Sprague Locality: Alexandria

I’ve been bashed so hard for my ‘behavior’ and because of that, I lost motivation, I got scarred for life and I nearly ended my own life. We cannot let this pass. We don’t need salt rubbed in our scars.

Last Name: Jaworek Locality: Falls Church, VA 22042

I am very opposed to HB29 as it is written. As the parent of a special needs child, I have seen what can happen when these individuals are treated as criminals. Justice is not necessarily dispensed, and they can...and are...both mentally scarred and legally branded. Unless there is modification of the bill as it is written, it must be defeated. Yes, there is a need for keeping law and order in our schools; but this bill is NOT the way to do that. Better, more thoughtful legislation must be considered.

Last Name: Chabot Locality: Springfield

Stop criminalizing behavior of children. Vote NO on HB89

Last Name: Andrew Locality: Bristow, Va

My son has profound developmental and intellectual disabilities. Occasionally he becomes overwhelmed and can have disruptive behavior-it is wrong to criminalize his behavior . When considering HB89, please remember that children and people with profound developmental/intellectual disabilities are NOT our peers when it comes to ability to rationally think through their actions. Especially when experiencing anxiety or sensory overload, they need support not punishment. Criminalizing children’s behavior is an expensive, esteem crushing mistake by adults who are out of energy and creativity -there are many strategies currently gaining popularity in special needs community that recognize need for support not punishment and have had great success in schools and group homes in Virginia and parts of Europe and UK. Including the Ukeru approach (used at Grafton school in Winchesterand to be implemented next school year in Fairfax county) and the Low- arousal approach used throughout Scandinavia and UK. HB89 shifts responsible for mature/thoughtful behavior by capable adults to children whose brains are not fully developed-it’s short sighted and ineffective -please vote no!

Last Name: Harris Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother of children with special needs, I beg of you NOT to pass such a horrible bill! If children of this age or any age for that manner are acting out they require mental health treatment NOT jail. In fact if my son had been able to be charged with disorderly conduct when he walked out of the classroom in a fit of rage over testing. The then abusive teacher and administrator who sat on him in the stairwell to prevent him from eloping, could have charged him with disorderly conduct and my son with Autism, ADHD, and Bi-Polar disorder would have been sent to Juvenile Detention instead of crisis mental health services. That would have cause irreparable harm to him from which he might not have recovered. DO NOT PASS HB-89! Not only for my children, but the hundreds of students I teach in this age group who need help and support not jail.

Last Name: Bowlin Locality: Loudoun

VOTE NO on HB89-- * This bill will further criminalize behavior of children. * Virginia already reports students for criminal conduct as much as three times the national average. (From a study of U.S. Department of Education data.) * Students with disabilities frequently have a behavioral crisis at school. Behavior of children, all children but especially children with special needs, should not continue to criminalized.  * Students with disabilities should not be reported as engaging in criminal conduct for having a behavioral crisis. It would be a better idea to provide teacher/ administrator training and additional support in classrooms to help students with special needs. My son is on the autism spectrum and it is terrifying that anyone in our great state is attempting to criminalize the behavior of children that we should be helping.

Last Name: HERNANDEZ Locality: Fairfax City

VOTE NO on HB89: - This bill will further criminalize behavior of children. - Virginia already reports students for criminal conduct as much as three times the national average. (From a study of U.S. Department of Education data.) - Students with disabilities frequently have a behavioral crisis at school. Behavior of children, all children but especially children with special needs, should not continue to criminalized. - Schoo staff may have tools or process to handle disorder from students.

Last Name: rogers Organization: ARC OF VA Locality: blacksburg

VOTE THIS BILL DOWN PLEASE ITS TRRRBLE FOR YMY ARC LCUB PALS AND EMEBERS!

Last Name: Lisa W Taylor Locality: Chesterfield

I vote NO for this bill

Last Name: Griffey Organization: Voices for Virginia's Children Locality: Henrico, VA

Voices for Virginia's Children opposes HB89

Last Name: Rashad-Green Organization: Community Organizer Locality: Richmond

Greetings Legislators, I strongly oppose HB89 with the amendment as it will criminalize our students and children. We should be disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline— not funneling more students through. School is supposed to be a safe and supportive place. I myself suffered from Youth Incarceration and suffered detrimental effects from it. Please ensure that section D. IS NOT CROSSED OUT. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to any elementary or secondary school student if the disorderly conduct occurred on the property of any elementary or secondary school, on a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100, or at any activity conducted or sponsored by any elementary or secondary school." If this bill passes the rate of Black, Latin American, and 2SLGBTQIA+ students will be disproportionately targeted as they already make up the majority of students in juvenile detention centers. 54.58% of the children and teens in Virginia juvenile detention centers are Black. 12.75% are Latin American. In Virginia it can cost $215K/year to imprison a child, but only $12K/year for public education. Keep our kids in school, not in prison! Oppose HB89. Thank you for taking the time to read this comment.

Last Name: Champion Organization: Virginia Autism Project Locality: Springfield

*Virginia already reports students for criminal conduct as much as three times the national average. (From a study of U.S. Department of Education data.) *Students with disabilities frequently have a behavioral crisis at school. Behavior of children should not continue to criminalized. This bill would open the door for students with disabilities being reported to law enforcement in alarming numbers. Why are we criminalizing children? ->>VOTE NO on HB89 Thank you

Last Name: Bohringer Locality: Alexandria

Greetings Legislators, I strongly oppose HB89 with the amendment as it will criminalize our students and children. We should be disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline— not funneling more students through. School is supposed to be a safe and supportive space. Ensure that section D. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to any elementary or secondary school student if the disorderly conduct occurred on the property of any elementary or secondary school, on a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100, or at any activity conducted or sponsored by any elementary or secondary school." is not crossed out. If this bill passes: the rate of Black, Latin American, and 2SLGBTQIA+ students will be disproportionately targeted as they already make up the majority of students in juvenile detention centers. 54.58% of the children and teens in Virginia juvenile detention centers are Black. 12.75% are Latin American. Out of the 400 children and teens incarcerated, 20% are 2SLGBTQIA+. In addition to this being an issue of institutionalized racism and gender-based violence, this has a financial impact, too. In Virginia it can cost $215K/year to imprison a child, but only $12K/year for public education. Keep our kids in school, not in prison! Oppose HB89. Thank you for taking the time to read this comment. For more information regarding the statistics in the comment, visit: [https://www.nokidsinprison.org/](https://www.nokidsinprison.org/?fbclid=IwAR0co7Zt1y354C2krmn-Nur3aQGQmzX-gUAxvnbfYe3jVLOKp_UpecQrY1A)

Last Name: Corcelius Organization: FEA-VEA-NEA Locality: Fairfax County

Greetings Legislators, I strongly oppose HB89 with the amendment as it will criminalize our students and children. We should be disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline— not funneling more students through. School is supposed to be a safe and supportive space. Ensure that section D. "The provisions of this section shall not apply to any elementary or secondary school student if the disorderly conduct occurred on the property of any elementary or secondary school, on a school bus as defined in § 46.2-100, or at any activity conducted or sponsored by any elementary or secondary school." is not crossed out. If this bill passes: the rate of Black, Latin American, and 2SLGBTQIA+ students will be disproportionately targeted as they already make up the majority of students in juvenile detention centers. 54.58% of the children and teens in Virginia juvenile detention centers are Black. 12.75% are Latin American. Out of the 400 children and teens incarcerated, 20% are 2SLGBTQIA+. In addition to this being an issue of institutionalized racism and gender-based violence, this has a financial impact, too. In Virginia it can cost $215K/year to imprison a child, but only $12K/year for public education. Keep our kids in school, not in prison! Oppose HB89. Thank you for taking the time to read this comment. For more information regarding the statistics in the comment, visit: https://www.nokidsinprison.org/

End of Comments