BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 420
          Author:   Dickinson (D), et al.
          Amended:  6/19/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE  :  7-1, 6/26/13
          AYES:  Liu, Block, Correa, Hancock, Hueso, Monning, Torres
          NOES:  Huff
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Wyland

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  52-23, 5/30/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Pupil discipline:  suspensions:  willful defiance

           SOURCE  :     ACLU
                       Brothers, Sons, Selves 
                       Children Now
                       Fight Crime:  Invest in Kids 
                       Public Counsel 


           DIGEST :    This bill eliminates the option to suspend or  
          recommend for expulsion a pupil who disrupted school activities  
          or otherwise willfully defied the authority of school officials  
          and instead authorizes schools to suspend a pupil in grades 6-12  
          who has substantially disrupted school activities or  
          substantially prevented instruction from occurring, as  
          specified.  Also, states the intent of the Legislature to  
          address the disproportionate suspension of particular pupil  
          subgroups and encourage schools to prioritize and use alternate  
          means of correction, as specified.
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           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law prohibits a pupil from being suspended  
          or recommended for expulsion unless the principal of the school  
          determines that the pupil has committed certain acts, and gives  
          schools the discretion to take action for most offenses.
           
           Discretion to suspend 

           Schools may suspend a pupil for violating any number of acts,  
          some of which include:

          1.Attempting to cause or threatening to cause physical injury to  
            another person.  (Expulsion must be recommended for causing  
            serious physical injury.) 

          2.Being under the influence of a controlled substance.   
            (Expulsion must be recommended for possession or the sale of  
            controlled substances.)  

          3.Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property. 

          4.Possessed or used tobacco. 

          5.Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or  
            vulgarity. 

          6.Possessed, offered, arranged or negotiated to sell drug  
            paraphernalia.

          7.Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing.

          8.Disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying  
            the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators,  
            school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the  
            performance of their duties.

          9.Engaged in an act of bullying.
           
          Pupils may be suspended for a first offense if the school  
          principal determines that the pupil committed certain acts or  
          that a pupil's presence causes a danger to persons or property  
          or threatens to disrupt the instructional process or the pupil  
          committed certain acts.
           

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           Subjective decision to expel
           
          Schools may expel pupils for various offenses, including  
          disruption and defiance, upon finding either of the following:

          1.Other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly  
            failed to bring about proper conduct.

          2.Due to the nature of the violation, the presence of the pupil  
            causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil  
            or others. 

           Prior to suspension
           
          Existing law states that suspension shall be imposed only when  
          other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct. 

          Suspension by the principal must be preceded by an informal  
          conference between the principal, pupil and whenever  
          practicable, the teacher, supervisor or school employee who  
          referred the pupil to the principal.  School principals may  
          suspend a pupil without first holding an informal conference  
          with the pupil if an emergency situation exists.  A school  
          employee is required to make a reasonable effort to contact the  
          pupil's parents at the time of suspension; however, whenever a  
          pupil is suspended from school (as opposed to suspension from a  
          class) the parent must be notified in writing.

           Decision to suspend
           
          The governing board of a school district (GBSD) is required,  
          unless a request has been made to the contrary, to hold closed  
          sessions if the GBSD is considering suspending or taking other  
          disciplinary action (other than expulsion) if a public hearing  
          would lead to the release of confidential information.  School  
          districts are required to notify, in writing, the pupil and the  
          pupil's parent of the intent to call and hold a closed session.
           
           Alternatives to out-of-school suspension
           
          School district superintendents and school principals are  
          authorized to use discretion to provide alternatives to  
          suspension or expulsion, including counseling and an anger  
          management program.

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          School principals are authorized to assign a suspended pupil to  
          a supervised suspension classroom for the entire period of  
          suspension if the pupil poses no imminent danger or threat to  
          the campus, pupils, or staff, or if an action to expel the pupil  
          has not been initiated.
           
          Existing law states that schools should consider implementing at  
          least one of the following if the number of pupils suspended  
          during the prior school year exceeded 30% of the school's  
          enrollment:

          1.A supervised suspension program.

          2.A progressive discipline approach during the schoolday on  
            campus (as an alternative to off-campus suspension), using any  
            of the following activities:

             A.   Conferences between the school staff, parents and  
               pupils.

             B.   Referral to the school counselor, psychologist, child  
               welfare attendance personnel, or other school support  
               service staff.

             C.   Detention.

             D.   Study teams, guidance teams, resource panel teams, or  
               other assessment-related teams.
           
          Teachers may suspend pupils from class for the day and the  
          following day. If the pupil is to remain on campus during that  
          suspension, the pupil must be under appropriate supervision.  
          Teachers must ask the parent to attend a parent-teacher  
          conference regarding the suspension. Pupils are prohibited from  
          returning to the class from which he or she was suspended,  
          during the period of the suspension, without the concurrence of  
          the teacher and principal. 

          Schools are authorized to require a pupil to perform community  
          service as part of or instead of suspension or expulsion for  
          most offenses.
           
           Missed assignments

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          The teacher of any class from which a pupil is suspended is  
          authorized to require the pupil to complete any assignments and  
          tests missed during the suspension.
           
           Number of days of suspension
           
          The number of days that a pupil may be suspended from school is  
          capped at five consecutive schooldays.
           
          With some exception, the total number of days for which a pupil  
          may be suspended is capped at 20 schooldays per school year,  
          unless the pupil enrolls in or is transferred to another regular  
          school, an opportunity school or a continuation school, in which  
          case the cap is 30 schooldays per school year. School districts  
          are authorized to count suspensions that occur while a pupil is  
          enrolled in another school district toward the maximum numbers  
          of days for which a pupil may be suspended in any school year. 

          In cases where expulsion from any school or suspension for the  
          remainder of the semester from continuation schools is being  
          processed by a school district, the district superintendent may  
          extend the suspension until the governing board has rendered a  
          decision.
           
           Length of expulsion

           GBSD are required to set a date, not later than the last day of  
          the semester following the semester in which the expulsion  
          occurred, when the pupil shall be reviewed for readmission to a  
          school within the district or the school the pupil last  
          attended.
           
           Pupils with exceptional needs
           
          Schools are authorized to suspend or expel an individual with  
          exceptional needs in accordance with federal law. If a pupil  
          with an individualized education program (IEP) exhibits behavior  
          problems, the IEP team must make a determination if the behavior  
          is a manifestation of the disability and whether the strategies  
          in the IEP are effective to address the behavior. If it is  
          determined that the IEP is ineffective, a functional analysis is  
          then amended to include a behavior intervention plan.  


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          This bill eliminates the option to suspend or recommend for  
          expulsion a pupil who disrupted school activities or otherwise  
          willfully defied the authority of school officials and instead  
          authorizes schools to suspend a pupil in grades 6-12 who has  
          substantially disrupted school activities or substantially  
          prevented instruction from occurring.  Specifically, this bill:

          1.Eliminates the option to suspend or recommend for expulsion a  
            pupil who disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully  
            defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers,  
            administrators, school officials, or other school personnel  
            engaged in the performance of their duties.

          2.Authorizes schools to suspend a pupil in grades 6-12 who has  
            substantially disrupted school activities or substantially  
            prevented instruction from occurring.

          3.Limits the authority to suspend a pupil for substantially  
            disrupting school activities or substantially preventing  
            instruction from occurring to the third or more offense in a  
            school year, and only if the pupil's parent, guardian or  
            educational rights holder has been informed that other means  
            of correction were attempted before the recommendation to  
            suspend.  

          4.Prohibits a pupil from being recommended for expulsion for  
            substantial disruption of school activities or substantial  
            prevention of instruction from occurring.

          5.Specifically authorizes teachers to continue to suspend from  
            class for up to 2 days a pupil in any grade who disrupts  
            school activities or otherwise willfully defies the valid  
            authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school  
            officials, or other school personnel engaged in the  
            performance of their duties.

          6.States it is the intent of the Legislature to address the  
            disproportionate suspension of particular pupil subgroups, and  
            to encourage schools to prioritize and use alternative means  
            of correction such as participation in a restorative justice  
            program or a positive behavior support system with tiered  
            interventions to improve educational outcomes for children.

           Comments

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          According to the author, "Existing law provides that students  
          can be suspended or recommended for expulsion from a school  
          district for willful defiance, defined simply as:  disrupting  
          school activities or otherwise willfully defying the valid  
          authority of school staff.  Without regard to the severity,  
          under this highly subjective category, students can be suspended  
          or expelled from the entire district and denied valuable  
          instructional time for any disruptive or defiant behavior  
          including failing to turn in homework, not paying attention, or  
          refusing to follow directions.  California has one of the  
          highest rates of suspension in the nation, with more than  
          700,000 recorded suspensions in 2010-11.  Nationally, nearly 43%  
          of all out-of-school suspensions are for insubordination,  
          whereas only .7% are for use or possession of a firearm or  
          explosive.  According to unofficial data obtained from the  
          California Department of Education, it is estimated that  
          "willful defiance" was identified as the most "severe" grounds  
          for 42% of all suspensions in 2010-11.  Under this highly  
          subjective category, students are sent home, too often to an  
          empty home, with no supervision, and denied valuable  
          instructional time for anything from failing to turn in  
          homework, not paying attention, or refusing to follow  
          directions, taking off a coat or hat, or swearing in class.   
          They can also be potentially expelled from a district for such  
          offenses."

           Prior Legislation
           
          AB 2242 (Dickinson, 2012) would have prohibited pupils who are  
          found to have disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully  
          defied the authority of school officials from being subject to  
          extended suspension, or recommended for expulsion.  AB 2242 was  
          vetoed by the Governor Brown, whose veto message read:

               I cannot support limiting the authority of local school  
               leaders, especially at a time when budget cuts have greatly  
               increased class sizes and reduced the number of school  
               personnel. It is important that teachers and school  
               officials retain broad discretion to manage and set the  
               tone in the classroom. 

               The principle of subsidiarity calls for greater, not less,  
               deference to our elected school boards which are directly  

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               accountable to the citizenry.
          
          SB 1235 (Steinberg, 2012) would have encouraged schools that  
          have suspended more than 25% of the school's enrollment or more  
          than 25% of any numerically significant racial or ethnic  
          subgroup of the school's enrollment in the prior school year to  
          implement, for at least three years, at least one specified  
          strategies to reduce the suspension rate or disproportionality.   
          SB 1235 was vetoed by the Governor Brown, whose veto message  
          read:

               This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
               each year to compile a list of schools which suspend too  
               high a percentage of their students and then invite  
               districts that have such schools to attend meetings to  
               discuss the problem. 

               My preference is to leave the matter of student suspension  
               to local school boards and the citizens who elect them.

               I understand the author's concern, which is why I have  
               signed a number of other bills aimed at reducing the number  
               of student suspensions and expulsions. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  
           No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/15/13)

          ACLU (co-source)
          Brothers, Sons, Selves (co-source)
          Children Now (co-source)
          Fight Crime: Invest in Kids (co-source)
          Public Counsel (co-source) 
          Advancement Project
          Alameda Unified School District
          American Academy of Pediatrics
          Attendance Works
          Black Organizing Project
          Black Parallel School Board 
          Brotherhood Crusade 
          Cadre
          California Alliance of African American Educators
          California Black Health Network

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          California Correctional Peace Officers Association 
          California Mental Health Directors Association
          California National Organization for Women
          California School Health Centers Association
          California State PTA 
          Californians for Justice
          Child Care Results
          Children's Defense Fund - California
          Colibri Law Group
          Community Asset Development Re-defining Education
          Community Coalition 
          Community Works
          Developmental Disabilities Area Board 10
          Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund 
          Disability Rights Legal Center 
          East Bay Children's Law Offices 
          Equality California 
          Families In Schools
          First 5 Fresno County
          Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center of Orange County
          Gay-Straight Alliance Network
          George Stafford and Associates
          Growing up in Santa Cruz
          Homeboy Industries
          Inner City Struggle
          Intercity Struggle 
          Issokson and Associates
          Khmer Girls in Action 
          Labor/Community Strategy Center
          LAUSD Board President, Monica Garcia
          Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
          Legal Advocates for Children and Youth
          Legal Services for Children
          Liberty Hill Foundation
          Los Angeles Trust for Children's Health
          Los Angeles Unified School District
          Los Angeles Unified School District Board President, Monica  
          Garcia
          MALDEF
          MarinKids
          Mental Health Advocacy Services 
          Mills Legal Clinic
          Mission Readiness
          National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento

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          Nutritionally for You
          Pacific Community Solutions, Inc.
          PACT LA Positive Alternative Choice Today
          Peace Over Violence
          PICO California
          Policy Link
          Public Counsel
          Respect Institute
          Restorative Schools Vision Project
          San Francisco Unified School District
          San Mateo County Office of Education
          State Council on Developmental Disabilities 
          The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration
          The Center of Orange County 
          The Children's Movement Fresno
          The Children's Movement of California
          The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
          University of California Student Association
          Vallejo Unified School District 
          Valley LEAP
          Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA 
          Western Center on Law and Poverty
          Youth and Education Law Project
          Youth Law Center
          Youth Leadership Institute
           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/15/13)

          Association of California School Administrators 
          California Federation of Teachers
          Small School Districts Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    Supporters of this bill maintain that  
          to limit the use of suspension and expulsion for acts of  
          disruption and defiance encourages other means of correction as  
          the preferred remedy for such acts by only allowing high school  
          students to be suspended on these grounds, only permitting such  
          suspensions after multiple offenses, and removing the ability to  
          expel students for such acts.

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents argue that this bill  
          "restricts a district from suspending or expelling a student in  
          grades Kindergarten to Grade 5 for acts of will defiance.   
          Suspension for willful defiance for students in grades 6 through  
          12 could only occur after the third documented offense provided  

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          specified alternative corrective measures were attempted and  
          documented."  
           

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  52-23, 5/30/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bloom, Blumenfield,  
            Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian  
            Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Cooley, Daly,  
            Dickinson, Eggman, Fong, Frazier, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez,  
            Gonzalez, Gordon, Gray, Hall, Roger Hernández, Jones-Sawyer,  
            Levine, Lowenthal, Mitchell, Mullin, Nazarian, Nestande,  
            Olsen, Perea, V. Manuel Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon,  
            Skinner, Stone, Ting, Weber, Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada,  
            John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Allen, Bigelow, Conway, Dahle, Donnelly, Beth Gaines,  
            Gorell, Grove, Hagman, Harkey, Jones, Linder, Logue,  
            Maienschein, Mansoor, Melendez, Morrell, Muratsuchi,  
            Patterson, Salas, Wagner, Waldron, Wilk
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Fox, Holden, Medina, Pan, Vacancy


          PQ:nl:d  8/15/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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