Colorado House Republicans

House GOP Newsletter

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ensuring students are not overcharged for low-level misconduct
♦In the News   ♦Tweets of the Week   ♦Capitol Pictures

Ensuring students are not overcharged for low-level misconduct

By Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park)

Since the attack at Columbine High School in 1999, most schools have adopted stricter, or even “zero tolerance,” policies concerning student misconduct. As a result, misbehavior that previously would have been handled by school administrators is being referred to law enforcement. Additionally, with the threat of violence at schools continuing to be a top concern, districts are increasing the presence of law enforcement officers in schools. While more security is important, one of the unintended consequences is an increase in students being formally charged and entering the criminal justice system. Certainly law enforcement should intervene when necessary, but new policies and more police should not result in students being overcharged for low-level, common misbehavior.

There are numerous statistics that indicate how a particular district is responding to school incidents. One such figure is the expungement rate, or how often students charged with an offense are given a differed sentence and the criminal account sealed. Two sessions ago, I helped reform school violence reporting, and this past session I built upon that progress by requiring district attorneys disclose their expungement rates. House Bill 1098, which passed both legislative chambers unanimously and was signed into law in April, specifically requires the Colorado Judicial Department to make its agencies’ expungement rates available for research purposes. Expungement rates can be an indicator of how often students are charged for their misconduct, and also how willing a district attorney is to prevent a student’s poor judgement from following them beyond their juvenile years.

There are valid concerns about law enforcement overcharging students for low-level misbehavior and those criminal records affecting a student’s future. However, from my conversations with district attorneys, I think people would be surprised how often they expunge juvenile records. Furthermore, law enforcement does not want to burden students with a criminal record, and this disclosure can help demonstrate those efforts. Expungement rates do not paint a complete picture, but they are one of many important statistics to know as schools and law enforcement continue to find a balance between safety and reasonable responses to common juvenile behavior.    

If you have thoughts or questions about House Bill 1098, or other similar issues please feel free to contact me.  Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and you can keep up with all of our caucus updates by following us on Twitter and Instagram, liking us on Facebook, subscribing to our YouTube channel or visiting


Polly Lawrence

In The News

Tweets of the Week

Durango held it's 4th of July parade in the evening and I was honored to join a huge Republican group in celebrating our Nation's Independence.  

WELCOME to #WCS16 it takes all of you that are here, your friends, family and your neighbors to have impact! Share what you learn! @GOP  

Paul Lundeen @Paul_Lundeen

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Parade with Girls of the West Allison Mitchell and Jamie Tyler,…   

Capitol Pictures

Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park) speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.  
Representative Lois Landgraf (R-Colorado Springs) and her grandchildren attend Security Fire Departments's annual pancake breakfast over the Independence Day weekend.
State Representative and Colorado delegate Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County) smiles with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner before flying to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. 

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