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(Fresno Bee) - It is will soon be illegal in California for both public and charter schools to suspend disruptive students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 419, which permanently prohibits willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. It also bans such suspensions in grades six through eight for five years.
The law goes into effect July 1, 2020.
Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who wrote the new law, said it would “keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.”
“SB 419 puts the needs of kids first,” she said.
California students missed more than 150,000 days of school because of suspensions for unruly behavior in the 2016-17 academic year, according to a California Senate analysis of SB 419.
Skinner and other supporters of the bill argued that students of color are disproportionately affected by such suspensions.
SB 419 “may be one of the best ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline,” Skinner said.
SB 419 was also praised by civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, who said in a statement that, “I strongly believe that SB 419 will bring justice to California youth by eliminating suspensions for disruption and defiance, putting an end to discriminatory discipline policies and instituting restorative justice practices.”