New Bill Restricting Use of “Willful Defiance” Moves Forward


This week, the Assembly Education Committee voted unanimously to move ahead with AB 420, which restricts the use of “willful defiance” in schools.

Even though current law sites 23 other reasons for suspension and expulsions, “willful defiance” is often seen as a catch-all, and accounts for 53% of all school suspensions. New data around “willful defiance” is set to be released today by the California Department of Education.

AB 420 proposes curtailing the use of “willful defiance” so that: K-5th grade students could not be suspended for it, and middle and high school students could only be suspended for a third offense and only after alternative means of discipline had been tried the first two times.

AB 420 is part of a national trend that acknowledges how damaging zero tolerance discipline policies are for youth and is moving towards alternative discipline practices. Supporters of the bill note that a disproportionate number of African-Americans are suspended for “willful defiance.”

You can read more about AB420 and it’s path to becoming law, in an article from EdSource here.


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