An odd proposal has been passed by California’s public and charter schools that make it illegal to suspend disruptive students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 419, now banning willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. It additionally forbids such suspensions in grades six through eight for five years.

This new law will take full effect on July 1, 2020. Many parents and school officials are torn on the new regulations, questioning the reasoning behind it.

Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who formulated the new law, assumes it will “keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.” She claims, “SB 419 puts the needs of kids first.”

According to California, a California Senate analysis of SB 419, students missed more than 150,000 days of school due to suspensions for unruly behavior in the 2016-17 academic year. Other arguments are that students of color are disproportionately affected by such suspensions.

Skinner believes SB 419 “may be one of the best ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.” Many supports like civil rights activist Dolores Huerta expressed their opinions saying, “I strongly believe that SB 419 will bring justice to California youth by eliminating suspensions for disruption and defiance.”

“Putting an end to discriminatory discipline policies and instituting restorative justice practices.” Yet, the bill was opposed by the Charter School Development Center, whose administrative director argued that SB 419 is a “one size fits all” enactment that is “a fix in search of a problem.”

California is one of the only states to have passed this kind of behavior management law; other states have expressed little to no interest.

 

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