What is this bill about?
There are serious racial disparities in school when it comes to who gets suspended for defiance. Youth experiencing homelessness, black youth, Latino boys and men, and students with disabilities are suspended at much higher rates for defiance – often for minor misbehaviors, like violating the dress code, “talking back,” or falling asleep in class. Neither “disruption” nor “defiance” are defined anywhere in the Education Code; as such, decision-making around suspensions is largely left to the subjective judgment of school personnel. This leaves ample room for intentional or unintentional discrimination toward our marginalized youth.
SB 419 would protect California students from discriminatory and harmful school climates. Alternatives to suspensions will keep students in school and increase student high school graduation rates.
How does it align with yli’s values?
yli supports efforts aimed to create communities that invest in youth. Punitive measures like suspension that disproportionately impact marginalized students is part of a system of structural racism that strips youth of their education, and is a key link in the school-to-prison pipeline.
Alternatives to suspensions – such as Restorative Practices, tiered interventions through Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, and social emotional learning – represent a critical investment in youth by improving behavior, overall school climate, and academic outcomes.
What did yli do about it?
We have sent an official letter of support to Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell stating our support. Youth in our Long Beach office have been conducting research on alternatives to incarceration as well as the status of mental health services for students/youth who are or have been justice-involved. Several have given public testimony on the bill.
Youth across our 7 regions are leading efforts to make school safe and supportive for all youth. This includes improving mental health resources, creating safe spaces for marginalized youth, crafting transformative justice programs, and building youth leadership skills.
Who else supported this bill?
- ACLU of California
- Association of California School
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Bay Area Legal Aid
- Black Parallel School Board
- California Public Defenders Association
- California Rural Legal Assistance Inc.
- California School Based Health Alliance
- California State PTA
- Children’s Defense Fund – California
- Community Asset Development Redefining Education (CADRE)
- Compton Unified School District
- Congregations Organized for Prophetic
- Engagement (COPE)
- Dolores Huerta Foundation
- East Bay Community Law Center
- Empowering Pacific Islander Communities
- Equal Justice Society
- Fathers and Families of San Joaquin
- Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
- Inner City Struggle
- Los Angeles Unified School District
- National Center for Youth Law
- Resilience Orange County
- Restorative Schools Vision Project
- Shani Buggs (as an individual)
- Southeast Asian Resource Action Center
- The Education Trust – West
- The Mentoring Center
- Tides Advocacy
- Youth Alive!
- Youth Forward
- Youth Law Center