8 of 10 Bills to Change Harsh School Discipline Rules Move Ahead
With the extraordinary support and an outpouring of calls and email letters, 8 of 10 bills supported by FixSchoolDiscipline.org cleared major hurdles in the California Legislature.
Bills to change harsh school discipline laws and help stop the school to prison pipeline were approved by the Assembly and Senate after Californians made phone calls and sent hundreds of email letters of support!
“Students, parents, teachers, school board members, law enforcement, and superintendents from around the state are calling for real change in the way we treat children who are struggling in our schools and their voices are finally being heard in Sacramento,” said Laura Faer, Education Rights Director at Public Counsel, which is sponsoring several of the bills.
SB 1088 – Ensuring that Juvenile Justice Youth Are Enrolled in School: APPROVED
SB 1235 – Reducing Excessive Student Suspensions Through Evidence-Based Alternatives (like PBIS and Restorative Justice): APPROVED
AB 1729 – Creating Stronger Alternatives to Suspension and Expulsion: APPROVED
AB 1909 – Foster Youth Discipline Notification: APPROVED
AB 2145 – Ensuring Appropriate Data Reporting on California School Discipline: APPROVED
AB 2242 – Reducing Out of School Suspensions and Expulsions for “Willful Defiance”: APPROVED
AB 2537 – Common Sense Changes to Mandatory Suspension and Expulsion Law: APPROVED
AB 2616 – Giving School Administrators Discretion to Help Increase School Attendance: APPROVED
Unfortunately, AB 2241 was held in the appropriations committee. The bill would have established the “Transitioning Youth for Success Program” to require schools to appoint transition coordinators and create transition plans to assist youth once they are released from the juvenile justice system. (With your support, we plan to work on this again next year, so don’t lose hope!). AB 2300, which allowed for community service to help expunge certain suspension records, was also held in committee.
The Chair of Appropriations, Felipe Fuentes, also unilaterally and without notice to us removed a critical provision from AB 2242, which aimed to stop the out-of-school suspension of the 40% of all youth suspended in the state for the subjective offense of “willful defiance.” The bill would have prohibited school administrators from suspending students out of school for “willful defiance.” However, the bill that Chair Fuentes released from his committee removes that prohibition – what remains is the prohibition on extended suspensions (suspensions for more than 5 school days) and expulsions.
The 8 bills now will move to the opposite house for additional hearings in June.