Join Us at 12! Students Rally in Sacramento for Equality in School Discipline

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Saying that it shouldn’t matter where you live or who you are when out-of-school suspensions are handed out, students and parents rallied in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 14, in support of fair school discipline rules.

Data shows that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, students of color, and students with disabilities are much more likely to be suspended than other students in California schools. In addition, some schools suspend more than 40% of students, while the statewide suspension rate is 5.7%.

emptychairStatewide data shows that LGBT students are 1.4 times more likely to be suspended than other students. Black students receive 4 times as many suspensions per 100 students than white students, and students with disabilities receive 2 times as many suspensions per 100 students than those without disabilities.

Many students are suspended for “willful defiance,” a highly subjective category that accounts for nearly half of California school suspensions – often for minor misbehavior that could be handled through new alternatives to suspension that are gaining steam in California.

Youth speakers asked the Legislature to approve Assembly Bill 420 and called on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the bill into law. They delivered letters to Gov. Brown from young people who support the change.

AB 420 (Dickinson) would help ensure  that in response to minor offenses other means of correction are prioritized over out-of-school suspension , and will eliminate disruption/willful defiance as a ground for expulsion for all grades and as grounds for suspension for our youngest children in grades K-5.

“We need Gov. Brown to sign AB 420 so that LGBTQ youth don’t feel isolated and separated from their school community simply because of who they are,” said Madison Buehlmeyer, a student at Tustin High School who was suspended after she reported bullying by another student.”

 

“Statistics show that one suspension makes it twice as likely that a student will drop out,” said Cheyenne Sherril, a student at Buena Park High School who was suspended for defiance after she got into an argument with a student who used an anti-gay slur. “We need Governor Brown to step in to raise graduation rates, close achievement gaps, and make it more likely that we will all succeed.”

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