Assemblymember Dickinson: It’s too easy to send students home

A March 30 editorial in the Bakersfield Californian noted that the Legislature “has already prescribed enough discipline in the Education Code.” Assemblymember Roger Dickinson writes “that’s a reason to embrace, not dismiss, my bill, AB 2242.” Here is more from his letter to the editor:

Schools are too prone to send kids home from school — by imposing out-of-school suspensions — even for behavior that doesn’t pose a safety threat, and the Legislature has made it too easy.

It’s alarming that most suspensions aren’t for violence or drugs, and that the most common basis is something as vague as disrupting class or willfully defying authority. Suspensions need to be carefully considered, since they often lead to students becoming disengaged, falling further behind and becoming more likely to act up. For many, it’s an unsupervised vacation, where they are more likely to get in trouble or get harmed themselves. It’s no wonder that kids who have been suspended or expelled are five times more likely to drop out and 11 times more likely to turn to crime.

Keeping kids in school is safer for children, and at school they can benefit from evidence-based alternatives that hold them accountable and teach them to behave better, while also making certain they get an education.

AB 2242 moves away from the overuse of harsh discipline by ensuring that out-of-school suspensions and expulsions are reserved for the most serious negative behaviors. More tough discipline is not the answer, and AB 2242 is a step in the right direction.

The California Assembly opens hearings about the bill on April 11. Click here to show your support for AB 2242.

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