School systems in Maryland will no longer be allowed to enforce "zero-tolerance" discipline policies with automatic consequences, Maryland's Board of Education decided Tuesday, according to WAMU 88.5, Washington's NPR affiliate.
The measure is intended to reduce suspensions, a topic that has been recently debated regionally.
Among elementary school students, Montgomery County Public Schools used the discipline method less often than at least six other school districts in the state, according to a .
That same report showed that more than 6,000 elementary school students were suspended in the Washington metropolitan area during the previous school year, including pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners.
MCPS developed a system to monitor suspension rates among some groups of students, namely African-American, Hispanic and students receiving special education services, which has been disproprotionate within the district.
Individual districts that have disproportionate rates of suspension must create a tracking system to address disparities, according to WAMU.