California lawmakers are looking at a new bill that would prohibit schools from suspending students who break rules and cause disruption in classrooms. The proposed legislation has been criticized by some as a “foolhardy endeavor” taken on by progressives who support the concept of equity.
“It is yet another foolhardy endeavor taken on by so-called progressives who think it will help to promote ‘equity’ or some other nonsense,” said one critic.
As reported by the Epoch Times, Senate Bill 274, proposed by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), aims to reduce the amount of student suspensions, which Skinner believes leads to students dropping out and further exacerbates learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill also aims to address an observed racial gap in suspensions for willful defiance. A 2018 study reported Black male students are 3 times more likely than the statewide average to be suspended for such behavior.
“SB 274 is based on a simple premise: students belong in school,” said Skinner in a Feb. 1 press release. “Instead of kicking them out of school, we owe it to students to figure out what’s causing them to act out and help them fix it.”
if approved, would ban willful defiance suspensions in elementary through middle school by fall 2024. This would include prohibiting suspensions related to tardiness and truancy.
“The punishment for missing school should not be to miss more school,” said Senator Skinner. “Students, especially those with behavioral issues, need to be in school where teachers and counselors can help them succeed.”
While the goal of the bill is well-intentioned, it has been met with criticism from people pointing out that it could hinder the learning of other students. Davina Keiser, a retired teacher who worked with the Long Beach Unified School District, commented “Allowing disruptive behavior is detrimental to the learning of everybody else in the classroom.”