For Immediate Release:  June 5, 2018
Contact: Rita D. Lewis, Communications Director , 202-256-7154

Councilmember Robert White Passes Emergency
Bill to Help Students Caught in DCPS Conflict

Washington, DC –  Today, Councilmember Robert White introduced emergency legislation along with Councilmember David Grosso to ensure that students who have received a passing grade, notwithstanding attendance, are promoted to the next grade or graduate at the end of the school year. White and Grosso introduced the School Promotion and Graduation Fairness Emergency Act of 2018 after learning that District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) only began strictly enforcing an attendance policy, found in the DC Municipal Regulations, more than halfway through the school year. In addition, the Council heard testimony from DCPS that many schools and teachers had articulated different attendance policies to students.

This legislation requires that unexcused absences accrued from August 8, 2017, to April 6, 2018, do not impact DCPS student promotion to the next grade or graduation. The bill only applies to the 2017-2018 school year and will impact just a subset of students who are on track for promotion academically but are failing a course or grade solely due to attendance. White said he expects that in school year 2018-2019 DCPS will enforce a uniform attendance policy.

White said, “DCPS changed the rules in the middle of the school year without regard to how it would affect students. For DCPS to not enforce a uniform attendance policy and have the consequences of their mistake fall entirely on children who had no say in the matter is patently unfair.” White, who is a member of the Committee on Education, said he wants students to know that their elected officials will go to bat for them when they are being treated unfairly.

White worked closely with Grosso who chairs the Committee on Education to draft the bill and to rally support. The bill passed on a 12-1 vote and will go into effect as soon as the Mayor signs it.