Congratulations on passing AB549 and SB744!

wediditCalifornia is moving ahead again…to keep more students in school and learning.

SB 744 and AB 549 passed out of the Senate and Assembly Education Committees yesterday afternoon! The hearings were packed with students, community leaders, and parents standing in support.

Last year California enacted five new laws to fix problems with harsh school discipline rules. Schools across the state have started to make real changes that support students, families and teachers.

As Sacramento elementary school Principal Billy Aydlett said to us, “The traditional model says, ‘Throw kids out for refusing to listen to you.’ What I learned is that what our students need the most is not negative consequences and zero tolerance policies. What our students need is absolutely consistent and urgent support around maintaining appropriate behavior.”

Please take a minute to sign our petition of support.

This year California legislators are supporting new bills that tackle important school discipline issues.

  • AB 420 will ensure that elementary students are not suspended for “willful defiance,” a vague category under education code that is the main reason given in more than 40% of student suspensions, and help promote proven alternatives to harsh discipline.
  • AB 549 will require school safety plans to better define the role of police officers on campus in order to promote effective strategies towards school safety that better support a healthy school climate and student achievement, and takes measures to address California’s alarming student-to-counselor ratio of 810-to-1.
  • SB 744 will protect the due process rights of students involuntarily transferred to county community or community day schools and also closes a loophole in the discipline statute that allows such transfers even when an expulsion of a student is not recommended.

All three bills have passed first votes and will be considered by the Legislature later this year.

This is just the beginning, and there is more work ahead. As Carlos Elmo Gomez, a Youth Organizer with Labor/Community Strategy Center’s Community Rights Campaign, said to California legislators this week, “Assemblymembers, I encourage you to see this as a form of action to improve our school conditions, and not just another vote.”

Please sign our petition of support if you haven’t already and share this email with others.

Thank you for all your support for California schools and students!

— Laura and Sarah

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