[JURIST] California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Saturday signed into law on a bill [text] which will prohibit schools from suspending students without proving the pupil willfully defied teachers and administrators. The bill specifically eliminates schools’ authority to suspend pupils from kindergarten through third grade and the authority to expel a student from kindergarten through twelfth grade. California State Assemblyman and author of the bill Roger Dickinson [official website] stated in regards to the purpose of the new law, “[k]ids who have been suspended or expelled are two times more likely to drop out and five times more likely to commit a crime.” Dickinson also pointed out how more than 10,000 students from kindergarten through third grade alone are suspended for willful defiance. The new law will help reform and provide a better school disciplinary system within the state.
In recent years legislation surrounding education and teachers has generated controversy in the US. Earlier this month education advocacy groups in New York challenged the state’s teacher tenure laws [JURIST report], claiming that laws protecting teacher employment violate the civil rights of children to a quality education. In June a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that the California’s system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In March the Supreme Court of Kansas held that the state’s legislature violated the Kansas constitution when it underfunded K-12 public education [JURIST report] during the 2009 through 2012 school years.