LAUSD will no longer suspend students for ‘willful defiance’

Los Angeles Unified is the first district in the state to stop suspending students for “willful defiance” – a subjective category that accounts for 54 percent of suspensions and a quarter of all expulsions across the state.
The school board voted 5-2 to ban suspensions for defiance following an impassioned discussion, according to the Los Angeles Times, with one board member saying he considered this change an experiment. The vote is a victory for civil rights groups and other activists who have been working to change the “zero tolerance” approach to discipline in favor of alternatives such as referring students to counseling or contacting parents to determine the root cause of the misbehavior.
Supporters of the change point out that disproportionate numbers of African American students are suspended for willful defiance. African Americans make up 6.5 percent of the state’s students, but they account for 19 percent of the suspensions for willful defiance. Research shows that students who are suspended are much more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system or drop out of school.
Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, has been trying to eliminate willful defiance as a reason for expulsion or out-of-school suspensions across the state. His bill made it through the Legislature during the last legislative session, but was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Dickinson is trying again, with Assembly Bill 420, which received the unanimous support of the Assembly Education Committee in April.
EdSource’s trusted, in-depth reporting has never mattered more.

With the coronavirus affecting every aspect of California’s education, demand for EdSource’s reporting has increased tremendously.We can meet this demand, with help from readers like you.From now through December 31, NewsMatch will match your one-time gift or your new monthly donation for 12 months. Your contribution ensures that EdSource’s content continues to be available for free – without a paywall or ads. Make your donation today to DOUBLE your impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0 Comments
scroll to top