The effectiveness of school suspensions is up for debate. California is the most recent battleground, but a pattern of uneven application and negative outcomes is apparent across the country.
California students were suspended more than 700,000 times over the 2011-2012 school year, according to state data. One school district decided it was getting ridiculous. In May, the board for the Los Angeles Unified School District passed a new resolution to ban the use of suspensions to punish students for "willful defiance."
Those offenses include: bringing a cellphone to school, public displays of affection, truancy or repeated tardiness. They accounted for nearly half of all suspensions issued in California last year.
But there's mounting research that says that out-of-school suspensions put students on the fast track to falling behind, dropping out, and going to jail. Moreover, some groups are disproportionately suspended more than others.