California Teachers Association

April 2017

Issue link: http://educator.cta.org/i/812811

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S ince January 2015 when AB 420 took effect, school districts no longer have the authority to issue both in-school and out-of-school suspensions to K-3 students for disruption or willfull defiance, and no student can be expelled for disruption or willful defiance. (Teachers still have the right to remove any child from their classroom.) e movement away from harsh discipline policies and toward positive discipline and accountability approaches is aimed at keeping children in school. Growing research shows that suspensions are inef- fective. Students who are suspended return to school less connected and further behind academically. Sus- pending or expelling students from school doesn't hold them accountable. Further, studies have found that students in certain ethnic and racial groups are more likely to be suspended and disciplined more severely than other students for the same offenses. e issue is also social and economic. School suspen- sions increase dropout rates and cost the state billions of dollars, according to a report released in March. Research- ers at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara studied a single cohort of California 10th-grade students and found that those who were suspended had a 6.5 percentage point drop in graduation rates, reducing their lifetime earnings and increasing their risk of crime and health issues. e drop- outs will cost California about $2.7 billion in lost income and taxes, and increased crime and welfare expenses, over the lifetime of the cohort. Increasingly, school districts in California have been turning to alternatives to suspensions, such as restor- ative justice and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The new California School Illustration of the difference between a system using restorative practives and one using zero tolerance. Courtesy NEA A Better Way Alternative discipline keeps students accountable and in school 35 April 2017

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