No suspensions for defience in schools
October 3, 2019 | View PDF
A move that has been years in the making came to fruition last week when Governor Newsom signed a bill that will ban educators from suspending Grade K-8 students for willful defiance.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill twice, calling it too broad in scope.
There has been a ban on the suspension of students in kindergarten through third grade for over two years, but this bill will expand the scope to include the fourth-eighth grade.
Willful defiance can be anything from sleeping in class to cussing out a teacher. In some school districts, willful defiance accounts for as many as 70 percent of suspensions.
When asked what options alternative schools will have if they can no longer suspend a student because of willful defiance, there were several answers. Rosa Romero, acting superintendent, said the Richland School District has already stopped the use of suspensions for willful defiance.
“It is frustrating to try to get a message across to the students and follow the guidelines at the same time,” said Romero. “But, as far as the ban is concerned, the Richland School District is ahead of the curve when it comes to not using suspension as a tool against unruly students.”
Romero said they do excuse students from the classroom and may give them detention. When asked what schools will do in place of suspension, Romero replied, “It will be a challenge, but we are confident that we can all get on the same page. We have tried using positive reinforcement as a substitute for the suspensions.” Romero also added that it is important for parents to get involved in their children’s lives and education.
The new bill that passed has parents in a split of opinions. One anonymous teacher said that she already has enough trouble trying to get her students to pay attention and do their work in class. “I don’t know how we can get the kids to listen and respect their teachers, administrators, and even their fellow classmates.”
Tammy Criswell-Rubio, a longtime Richland board member, said that she was aware of the legislation but that the board had not discussed it yet.