California budget deal might extend 'willful defiance' suspension ban to all grades
- An expansion of California's ban on "willful defiance" suspensions from grades K-3 to all grades is expected to be included in the state's budget talks, EdSource reports.
- The expectation has been fueled by Gov. Jerry Brown's inclusion of an extension of the K-3 ban in a May revision of his budget proposal, as well as the presence of state Sen. Nancy Skinner, author of a recent expansion bill, on the 10-member committee working to reconcile a variety of proposals.
- Brown previously vetoed a 2012 bill that would have expanded a ban to all grades but supported the K-3 ban in 2014, and Skinner's current bill has passed the full state Senate and is awaiting an Assembly vote.
A full ban would be the latest milestone in California's efforts to break the school-to-prison pipeline and reform "zero-tolerance" school discipline measures that have been shown to disproportionately impact students of color and those with disabilities.
Suspensions, and even arrests, over minor nonviolent incidents like disrupting class often leave these students unable to catch up on lost class time, falling behind until they ultimately drop out. And when that harsh discipline occurs with students as young as preschool, it often develops a student's perception of themselves as being "bad," resulting in progressively worse behavior that can lead to more interaction with police and pull them into the juvenile (and later adult) justice system.
Instead of suspending students over these minor behavioral concerns, many schools and districts have worked to implement alternative approaches like restorative justice, where educators and peers help these students address what's at the root of their behavioral issues, and social-emotional learning, which helps build empathy and compassion.
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