SB 744 veto – statement for Fix School Disciplineemptychair

On Saturday, Governor Brown vetoed a bill that you all fought hard for and that would have helped thousands of the state’s most vulnerable students. 

Under California law, students who are recommended for expulsion can make their case to stay in school.  This is a life-changing moment for many students.  But even when they win their expulsion hearing and prove their innocence, students have no right to go back to their prior school.  Under California law, they can still be transferred to community and county day schools, the same schools that expelled students attend without their parent’s consent.  This has dire consequences.  California high school students who change schools even one time are less than half as likely to graduate as those who did not.

Students can also be transferred for falling behind or having too many absences from school.  Too often, the transfers of these students are not planned or coordinated.  Students end up dumped into another school that may not be the right educational fit, is too far from their home to get to, or does not even have an available seat.

SB 744 would have helped ensure that students got to a productive school placement and sent a clear message that these students cannot be thrown away.  It hurts the student and it hurts the community. That is why SB 744 was supported by County Offices of Education, which run the county community schools for our vulnerable students.

It’s like playing baseball without an umpire. If the school district can decide to throw a student out of the game for any reason and without a plan to put them in a school that works for them, that’s a recipe for abuse. You need someone to make sure that everyone is playing by the same rules. Without that, local control is just another name for abuse of students’ rights and inequitable results.

Governor Brown said in his veto message that he favors local control. When local leaders at the County Offices of Education advocate for a better way to effectively serve children, the Governor should support them in doing so.

The children who would have been helped by this bill are children who this state has thrown away for far too long.  The local control funding formula by itself does not help these children, who are on a fast track out of school and into out the criminal justice system.  SB 744 represented a well thought out compromise to protect them and help all of the schools that are supposed to serve them and meet their needs effectively.

The Governor has talked about his experience being suspended from private school as a student, and the intervention from his father, who was California’s Attorney General at the time, that helped him get back in school the next day.

The students who are most frequently discarded from our school system do not have someone to advocate for their return to school, let alone the state’s Attorney General.  These children do not need more excuses about why schools to which they are involuntarily assigned are too far away or do not even have a seat for them.  They need an advocate.  They need the Governor to act as his father did for him when he got in trouble – as an advocate for a child’s right to get back into a school that helps you learn and succeed. These children needed the Governor to help get them back in school the next day by signing SB 744, not leave it up to chance and local choice as to whether they will get an education at all.

Please let Governor Brown know that we need him to stand with struggling students, even those who have make mistakes.  Governor Brown got a second chance when he was disruptive in private school. These children deserve a second chance too!


Call (916) 445-2841 or email Nancy McFadden, or mention him in a twitter comment @JerryBrownGov to let Governor Brown know why he should not have vetoed SB 744.

© 2024