RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Tiovhan Addy worries more students like her 17-year-old son will face school suspension if a bill moving through the North Carolina General Assembly becomes law. The Raleigh resident is the mother of four children.
"He is 17 and goes to high school. He's a senior in his last year. He's gotten into a few fights and been suspended," said Addy. " Give them ways to manage what they did wrong in a better way like a therapy, conflict resolution or something like that."
James Lassiter said he believes the measure could improve student discipline.
"As far as disrespecting teachers, they don't have no respect for nothing. They talk to the teacher like they're equals. That's the problem," he said.
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The House Bill says students could face suspension if they use inappropriate language, disrespect teachers, violate dress codes or fight. The bill's sponsor said school discipline isn't where it needs to be and this measure will give teachers their power back in the classroom. Language in the bill says it gives teachers the discretion to decide.
According to the North Carolina State Board of Education Department of Public Instruction, overall, the total number of short-term suspensions increased last school year by 7.2% Numbers show Black and Native American students, students with disabilities and male students across the state have the highest rates of short-term suspension.
"It's a travesty and we should be up in arms about it. We should be willing to have real conversations about the disparities," said Letha Muhammad with Education Justice Alliance, a community-based organization that has a mission of dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.
Muhammad believes the bill could affect student achievement among ethnic minorities.
"How is a young person able to garner the education they need and access in order to successfully complete schools?" she questioned.
It's something that worries Addy since her son was recently suspended for 10 days.
"He missed tests. He missed classwork. He had to make up. It puts him behind academically," she said.