Sunday, January 25, 2015

California ends out of school suspensions.

AB 420: Getting students back to school – for good

Starting January 1, California became the first state in the nation to eliminate in and out-of-school suspensions for its youngest children – K-3, and all expulsions for what is known as “willful defiance.” 

Teacher Karen Junker at Davidson Middle School put it this way: “AB 420 puts California on the path to being a state where we can ensure that all 5-8 year old students have access to good academic and social outcomes, even when they make mistakes and get themselves in trouble. This will focus our efforts at the youngest grades on giving teachers and students opportunities to learn to build community and repair harm where harm is done.”

Governor Brown signed AB 420 last year because of the incredible support from community and civil rights groups and educators. AB 420 was co-sponsored by Public Counsel, Children Now, Fight Crime Invest in Kids, and the ACLU of California.


“Reducing suspensions in the earliest grades means giving educators the tools they need to help students showing warning signs before they fall too far behind,” said Laura Faer, Public Counsel’s statewide Education Rights Director. “AB 420 gives school districts extra incentive to expand research-proven alternatives to harsh discipline that focus on prevention, not interruption of a student’s education.”

Need more evidence that suspensions don’t work? A just-published research study that followed more than 17,000 Kentucky students found that high rates of school suspensions also harmed math and reading scores for non-suspended students.

Need help with implementation of AB 420? Go to FixSchoolDiscipline.org! 

School districts are taking more steps to reduce suspensions

Several school districts have gone further, eliminating suspensions for willful defiance and disruption altogether.  These include San FranciscoPasadena, and Los Angeles.  Others, like Azusa, are phasing this category of suspensions out over the next few years.

As part of Local Control Accountability Plans, school districts are moving away from school removal and investing in research-based alternatives for holding students accountable and helping improve their behavior. These include Santa Rosa City SchoolsSanta Ana UnifiedVallejo City UnifiedFresno UnifiedAzusa UnifiedBerkeley Unified and many more.
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