Reduce School Suspensions, Take Action Now!
A brand-new national report out today from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project reveals that the use of harsh school discipline has increased across the country. African American and Latino students, students with disabilities, and English-language learners are more likely to face harsh school discipline than other students. Even one suspension in 9th grade doubles the risk a student will fail to finish school.
“Suspensions are incredibly harmful,” said Bob Balfanz, Co-Director of the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University. Click here to read about the report “Out of School and Off Track.”
We are doing something about it in California!
Last week we told you about AB 420, which will fix major problems with suspensions for “willful defiance.” Two other strong bills that will help us fix school discipline are headed for their first hearings in Sacramento on April 17. We need to show the Legislature that we are serious about keeping students in school and on track by emphasizing mental health counselors and prevention over school police and suspension and ensuring that students aren’t involuntarily transferred without receiving due process and understanding their school options.
Please send a letter of support by WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10 for AB 549, SB 744 and AB 420:
AB 549 – Ensuring the Safety of Students through Positive School Climates
Trained school counselors and administrators play a critical role in school safety. Yet California’s student-to-counselor ratio has climbed to 810-to-1 at the same time police have taken on a greater role on campus. AB 549 requires school safety plans to better define the role of police officers on campus in order to promote effective strategies towards school safety that better support a healthy school climate and student achievement. AB 549 additionally takes measures to address California’s alarming student-to-counselor ratio of 810-to-1, by prioritizing funding for school counselors and administrators before police officers. Click here to send a letter of support now.
SB 744 – Ensuring Fairness and Consistency in School Placements
County community or community day schools were originally intended to provide a temporary rehabilitative placement to help our most vulnerable students get back on track and back to their comprehensive school. Unfortunately, many students are now sent to these schools without any due process or a clear plan for them to ever return to a comprehensive school. As a result, too many students do not succeed and end up dropping out completely. SB 744 will protect the due process rights of students involuntarily transferred to county community or community day schools and also closes a loophole in the discipline statute that allows such transfers even when an expulsion of a student is not recommended. Click here to send a letter of support now.
And please don’t forget to also send a letter of support for AB 420. AB 420 will end suspensions for “willful defiance” for younger students, eliminate it as a grounds for expulsion and require the use of research-based alternatives. Download a quick fact sheet here!
This is a key step to ending suspensions for willful defiance in California and giving educators better tools to help students learn. Thank you for your support.