California Seeking End To School Suspensions In Equity Drive

The California state legislature is considering a bill to end the long-time practice of school suspensions to further what its sponsor calls racial equity.

Senate Bill 274 will end a large share of school suspensions for misbehavior.

The bill would end suspensions for “willful defiance.” In practice, many traditional reasons for school suspensions, such as inappropriate behavior or unwillingness to follow school rules will no longer be eligible reasons for the suspension.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D) introduced the legislation. Skinner’s argument for the bill cited racial educational outcomes as a key factor.

Sen. Skinner wrote that “willful defiance suspensions have disproportionately impacted students of color, LGBTQ students, students who are homeless or in foster care, and those with disabilities.”

The proposed bill would apply to both charter and public schools.

This is not the first time that such a bill has come up, or come up via Sen. Skinner. In 2019, Skinner sponsored Senate Bill 419, which is now state law.

That legislation permanently banned similar suspensions through fifth grade and created a hiatus on such suspensions in grades 6-8 until 2025.

Skinner argues that such suspensions disproportionately affect black students. She states that 26% of high school suspensions in the state were of young black male students. The black male population of the state is approximately 3.3% according to the census.

The educational changes come after a wave of major changes in California and many other locations in the country since the wave of protests and riots that followed the 2020 death of George Floyd in police custody.

The move is the latest among many schools and colleges to include a diversity, equity and inclusion doctrine in these institutions. Much of the focus has been on racial equity, including changes to the educational curriculum that many conservatives call revisionist.

Since Democrats control the California governor’s mansion and both houses of the state legislature, it is likely that Sen. Skinner’s bill will become the law of the Golden State in the not-too-distant future.

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