California Legislators Seek to Better Define ‘Defiance’

“Willful defiance” accounts for 40% student suspensions, but who defines “defiance”?

Research has found that under this highly subjective category, students are sent out of school for anything from failing to turn in homework, not paying attention, refusing to follow directions to take off a coat or hat, or swearing in class. They can also be potentially expelled from the district for such offenses.

On April 11, California legislators will hear testimony about AB 2242, which would replace the reference to “willful defiance” in California law with more specific language from elsewhere in the Education Code that gives better direction to teachers and administrators. AB 2242 also allows school officials to subject students who engage in minor infractions to in-school supervised suspension.

Click here to send a letter of support to the bill’s author, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson.

It’s one of the bills that California leaders are considering on April 10 and 11 to help students who struggle with behavior to succeed in school. Others include:

  • AB 1909, which would inform foster parents or other responsible adults when foster youth face discipline. Failure to inform foster parents or guardians means foster youth are often alone to deal with suspension or expulsion.
  • AB 2145, which would improve data collection on California discipline.
  • SB 1088 and AB 2241, which would make it easier for youth leaving the juvenile justice system to return to school and graduate on time — or at all.

Click here to learn more about these bills.