Thanks to efforts by Democrat leaders, California lawmakers are looking at a bill that would strip schools of the right to suspend students who break the rules. According to Senate Bill 274, students who defy teachers or constitute a disruptive nuisance in class should not be sent home.
Bill to Ban ‘Willful Defiance’ School Suspensions Authored by CA State Senator Nancy Skinnerhttps://t.co/bS6Y706evq
— Jim (@JimLHorn1) February 5, 2023
The bill, introduced by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-CA), is based on the argument that suspensions can cause students to drop out. It also holds that suspensions are a disservice to students who are already behind in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Skinner, suspending students at this time would add to the learning loss students already face.
Skinner also said in a press release on Feb. 1 that Black male students are most affected by the suspensions. She did cite a 2018 study that pegged Black students as thrice more likely to be suspended due to willful defiance than their White counterparts.
Skinner’s solution is to not take any decisive action – but try to figure out the reason behind the unacceptable behavior and treat it.
“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,” she suggested.
If the bill is successfully passed into law, not only would it stop students from getting suspended for willful defiance, but it will also shield them from suspensions for lateness or absenteeism.
For Skinner, ”the punishment for missing school should not be to miss more school.” Instead, teachers and counselors should help students who fall behind work out their issues, she opined.
The bill is the latest in the woke agenda to introduce restorative justice into the school system. Progressives believe that giving badly-behaved students mediation is a better approach to handling students than punishment. Critics, including actual educators, have, however, argued that the mediation approach is not the way to go for students with behavioral issues.
Vice president of education policy and government affairs at the California Policy Center Lance Christensen’s problem with Skinner’s bill lies in fears that absolving people of the consequences of their actions prompts them to do something more extreme.
“When these bills take away the tools for dealing with those who are willfully defiant, all they do is just move the violence to a higher level and escalate the violence,” he said.
Christensen maintains that the discipline policy in California works and should not be thrown away, as Skinner’s legislation will not fix the issue of disruptive students.
From the lens of a retired teacher from a California school district, Davina Keiser, the effect of disruptive behavior is felt by everyone in the classroom. For one, she worries that allowing such behavior is enabling and could be seen as a go-ahead for other children to go ahead and do whatever they like.
“As teachers, I wanted students to know that there are boundaries, and they have to stay within those,” she explained.
Keiser also worries that complying students will be caught in the web of those who misbehave if unruly students are allowed to stay in class.