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California bill to ban schools from expelling disruptive students soon becomes law


A proposal meant to protect kids from unnecessary discipline by banning expulsions for disobedience in California schools passed out of the Assembly this week, moving closer to becoming a law.

The Assembly voted 58-17 for Senate Bill 419, which now moves back to the Senate for a vote on amendments before it goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Under the amended SB 419, schools would be prohibited from suspending any student from kindergarten to eighth grade “who disrupts school activities or otherwise willfully defies the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, or school officials,” beginning July 1, 2020.

The bill also would prevent students of any grade from being expelled from school for the same reason.

The bill, if it becomes law, also would apply to charter schools, though that provision and the provision affecting sixth, seventh and eighth graders would sunset in 2025 unless it is extended.

A 2018 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office “found that black students, boys, and students with disabilities were disproportionately disciplined in K-12 schools. They found this was the case regardless of the type of disciplinary action, poverty at the school level, or type of public school the students attended,” according to an Assembly floor analysis of the bill.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. The alliance wrote that the bill “and the elimination of suspension for disruption/defiance will result in an overall reduction in suspensions and an increase in positive outcomes for students and the communities in which they live.”

The bill was opposed by the Charter Schools Development Center, which argued in a statement that “this bill is based on no credible evidence of an expulsion problem in California charter schools. To the contrary, charter schools often serve as a school of last resort of students who have been expelled from traditional schools and these pupils thrive in a charter school environment.”

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