The California Governor signs into law a bill banning suspension of students who ‘willfully defy’ their teachers, an already existing law covered K-through-third grade students but now it was expanded to middle school students.
The law essentially makes it illegal to suspend students from for minor misbehavior issues, but it does not mean the teachers are losing their authority inside the classroom.
The President of the Coachella Valley Teachers Association, Carissa Carrera, said this could actually be a move to improving student behavior.
Carrera said, “This shouldn’t really affect the classroom environment at all, it will affect the school site more than anything.”
Carrera said not to get confused, teachers can still suspend misbehaving students from their class, it is an official process that requires notification of the administrators and parent.s
She said, “And it is actually illegal for a child to be sent back to your class if you have properly suspended them or they cannot also be sent to another class.”
However, suspension from the school is where the new comes into play. The school principal will no longer be able to suspend a student from the school over minor behavioral issues, instead, they will have to develop other discipline strategies.
Carrera said suspensions are not always productive, she said, “A lot of times it means that they are at home unsupervised because their parents are working.”
The State Senator, Nancy Skinner, who wrote the law tells the Sacramento Bee, “It may be one of the best ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline,”.
Carrera said a positive behavior course could be a better choice, than removing a student from a learning environment.
Carrera said, “I think it honestly puts a little more responsibility on the district itself to have those things in place to handle that behavior at the time that it is happening and turn that child around.”
The law will go into effect next year and while the changes are permanent for kindergarten and elementary school students, the new law is so far a five year pilot for middle schoolers.