Several bills introduced to the Virginia general assembly seek to correct overly harsh punishment and police intervention in student discipline.
A 2015 analysis of Department of Education data by the Center showed that Virginia schools in a single year referred students to law enforcement personnel at a rate nearly three times the national rate.
Virginia’s referral rate was about 16 for every 1,000 students, compared to a national rate of six referrals for every 1,000 students. In Virginia, some of the individual schools with highest rates of referral — in one case 228 per 1,000 — were middle schools, whose students are usually from 11 to 14 years old.
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