Youth, parents, community organizers, advocates, educators, and community members continue to lead the way in shifting the conversation about school discipline, school push-out, and criminalization. Here is some of the California Legislation that is helping school communities create better places to learn:
Suspending students from school, regardless of age, fails to improve behavior and greatly increases the likelihood of students getting pushed out of school and into the juvenile justice system. SB 419 addresses school push-out by dramatically decreasing suspensions in the applicable grades for minor misbehavior. Existing law prohibits suspension of a student enrolled in kindergarten through grade 3 for “disruption/defiance.” Existing law also prohibits recommending the expulsion of any student enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 for “disruption/defiance.”
On September 19, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 419 into law. SB 419, is a bill by Senator Nancy Skinner which banned school suspensions as a result of “willful defiance” or “defiance disruption,” a catchall category undefined in the California Education Code. This law took effect on July 1, 2020, and expanded the ban against defiance/disruption to more grades. For students in grades K through 5, SB 419 permanently bans suspensions for defiance/disruption. For students in grades 6 through 8, SB 419 temporarily bans suspensions for defiance/disruption until July 1, 2025. The protection for students in 6 through 8 will end on July 1, 2025, unless the legislature decides to extend them. SB 419 permanently bans expulsions for “defiance/disruption” for students in grades K through 12. SB 419 applies to Charter Schools whose school discipline policy follow the California Education Code. Read more on SB 419 with FSD’s SB 419 Know-Your-Rights resource tool below.
Student Transfers from Juvenile Court Schools
This bill helps ensure that youth involved in the juvenile justice system have a successful educational transition when they return to their local schools by requiring education agencies and the probation department to implement joint transition policies. It also creates a statewide process to help share and promote best practices for this transition. It also clarifies existing law to reaffirm that students who have been in a juvenile court school have the right to immediate enrollment, partial credits, speedy record transfer, and school of origin protections.
Fact Sheet on AB 2276
Success for Involuntarily Transferred Students
The bill establishes basic safeguards for children transferred to county community schools so they have the best opportunity for success. It does so by making sure that for students transferred by a School Attendance Review Board the school is geographically accessible, has an available space, and can meet the educational needs of the student. For such students, it also allows them to return to another appropriate school the semester after the semester when they enter the school. This bill will also help close the “involuntary transfer” loophole that allows students to be essentially expelled via transfer often to the same alternative schools, even after they win their case.
Fact sheet on SB 1111
Support for Homeless Students Facing Expulsion
This bill requires school districts to notify and invite the homeless educational liaison for the school district to attend key meetings for a homeless student who is facing expulsion for discretionary reasons in order to provide support and resources.
Bullying Prevention Training
This bill requires to the California Department of Education to develop an online training module to help everyone in the school community better understand how to address and prevent bullying.
No Incarceration for Students Who Miss School
This bill will eliminate loopholes that permit the incarceration of truant youth through contempt charges, or other violations of a court order to attend school. This measure would ensure that the Legislature’s longstanding intent that truants not be incarcerated. In doing so, it will dismantle a small, but significant piece of the school to prison pipeline.
This bill establishes the Local Control Funding Formula to target resources to districts with the highest-need students and increase local discretion over funding decisions. Requires every district and county office of education to develop three-year Local Control and Accountability Plans, updated annually, which provides how they plan to address eight state priority areas, including school climate. In connection with school climate, they must specify goals and actions related to suspension and expulsion rates.
Pupil Rights: Suspension or Expulsion
This bill requires that other means of correction be used prior to “in-school suspension” in addition to out-of-school suspension. Provides a comprehensive list of what is included as “other means of correction,” including parent conference meetings, positive behavior interventions and supports, and Restorative Justice.
Fact Sheet on AB 1729
Foster Children: Suspension and Expulsion
Ensures that social workers and attorneys who represent a foster youth know of pending discretionary school removals for students with special needs, meetings for which an extended suspension and expulsion is contemplated, and expulsions for all students, and are invited to the key meetings/hearings regarding such removals, and can offer services and supports and tools to assist the students. Includes legislative intent language to help ensure that education rights holders are invited to all school discipline meetings.
Fact sheet on AB 1909
Pupil Discipline: Suspensions and Expulsions
This bill gives additional discretion to administrators not to expel in certain circumstances and makes it clear that possession of an imitation firearms or medication for personal use are NOT zero tolerance, mandatory offenses.
School Districts: Truancy
This bill aligns truancy laws with best practices by giving school districts more discretion in determining whether a pupil is truant and whether a truant youth should be referred to the Juvenile Court. Reduces court fine for truancy and prioritizes the creation of a school attendance plan with the student and parent over a referral to police.
Fact sheet on AB 2616
Comprehensive School Safety Plans: Mental Health Professionals and Police Role on Campus Guidelines
This bill encourages schools in their required comprehensive school safety plans to include clear guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals, community intervention professionals, school counselors, school resource officers, and police officers on school campus, if the school district uses these people. The guidelines may include primary strategies to create and maintain a positive school climate, promote school safety, and increase pupil achievement, and prioritize mental health and intervention services, restorative and transformative justice programs, and positive behavior interventions and support.
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