California Lawmakers to Reconsider "Zero-Tolerance" Student Discipline Laws

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, April 16, 2012

In Oakland, one out of every four black boys was suspended that year, according to the study.

This week, we wrote about the large number of California schoolchildren who received an out-of-school suspension in the 2009-10 school year -- 7 percent of all kids in grades K-12, 13 percent of those with disabilities, 7 percent of Latino students and 18 percent of black students, according to estimates from the UCLA's Civil Rights Project, which used data from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Those percentages estimate the number of children who were suspended from school at least once during a single school year. In other words, if a girl was sent home three times between September and June, she would only show up once in that calculation.

As we reported, California's public schools are required, by law, to suspend or expel kids who are caught selling drugs, brandishing a knife, possessing a firearm or explosive, or sexually assaulting someone.

Assembly Bill 2537, introduced by Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez, D-Coachella -- as introduced -- would alter that requirement. Firearm and explosives



The bill would also lift a requirement for school principals to report illegal activities to law enforcement authorities; the failure to do so now constitutes an infraction.


Lastly, it would require a governing board's decision to expel a student to be based not only on the act itself, but on the grounds that "other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct."

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