YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 32

Restorative Practices in School Discipline: Eliminating Willful Defiance Origin: California State Legislature Bill Name/Number: AB-420 Link: Click here YEO Sponsor: Assemblyman Luis Alejo Summary: Passed in the fall of 2014, this act eliminates the authority to suspend a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of the grades 1-3, inclusive, and the authority to recommend for expulsion a student enrolled in kindergarten or any grades 1-12, inclusive, for disrupting school activities or ot herwise willfully defying school personnel. Talking Points & Important Information: • Because “willful defiance” is a vague and highly subjective category in many school discipline codes, students can get suspended from school for minor misbehaviors like talking back to a teacher. The harsh enforcement of these policies alienates students from the classroom, removes them from valuable instructional time, and increases the likelihood that they fall behind on coursework and drop out. In fact, nationally students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately affected by harsh discipline policies. • According to our partners at the ACLU, willful defiance accounts for 43 percent of suspensions issued to California students. It is the suspension offense category with the most significant racial disparities. For the next 3.5 years, the law eliminates in-school and out-of-school suspensions for children in grades K-3 for disruptive behavior currently captured in Education Code section 48900(k) and bans all expulsions K-12 for this reason, unless otherwise addressed by AB-420. • But the elimination of willful defiance as a qualifier for punitive disciplinary measures is not enough. Schools also need to implement restorative practices along with positive behavior intervention and support. For more information on the raft of positive interventions and disciplinary alternatives, see this brief from ACLU. 2015 POLICY BOOK STATE LEVEL PAGE 32