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Bill curbing suspensions of young Maryland students on verge of passage

Legislation that would severely curb the practice of suspending or expelling the youngest public school students is on the brink of passage after both the state Senate and House of Delegates gave it preliminary approval Thursday.

The measure is expected to receive final approval as early as Friday. With all issues resolved between the two chambers, the legislation would then go to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

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The bills passed by veto-proof margins, but were strongly opposed by Republican lawmakers.

The measure is sponsored by Sen. William C. Smith Jr., a Montgomery County Democrat, and Del. Brooke Lierman, a Baltimore Democrat.

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It would allow the suspension or expulsion of students in pre-K through second grade under only the most narrow circumstances. Even where suspensions are permitted, the duration would be limited to five days and schools would be required to provide individualized intervention to address the child's behavior problems.

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