California schools could be banned from expelling or suspending students for 'willful defiance'

Senate Bill 419 moving through state legislature
Posted at 7:32 PM, Aug 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 22:32:08-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA. — California schools could be banned from expelling or suspending students for disrupting school activities or willfully defying school authorities.

If passed, it would go into effect next school year. The bill would impact students in grades K-8.

The Dolores Huerta Foundation has been spearheading this legislation in an effort to push discipline reform in the education system.

"If a student does not know how to read, we don't send them home thinking that they are going to come back knowing how to read. So how can we expect a student that can't behave in the classroom to do the same," said Cecilia Castro, education policy director for DHS.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas is a supporter of the bill. Salas provided this statement to 23ABC:

“At the end of the day, California needs to do more to ensure that our students are doing better in school. I supported SB 419 because I would rather have kids in school learning instead of spending time out of the classroom playing video games or getting into trouble. Studies continue to show that the more time they spend in school the better it is for them to learn, grow and improve their academic success.” – Assemblymember Rudy Salas

But the bill was met by opposition from lawmakers, including Assemblymember Vince Fong. We reached out to Fong, but he was unable to respond.

Charter school advocates are also pushing back against the bill. Some critics said those restrictions on schools of choice are counter-intuitive.