California stops disruptive students from being suspended

Can’t see how this could possibly end in a steaming pile of disaster, can you? California Governor Gavin Newsom has been busy signing a pile of new, intrusive bills into law lately. Not satisfied with trying to destroy the business models of the gig economy, Newsom is going to straighten out the teachers who have been having trouble with disruptive students. In the majority of cases, they will be banned from suspending them from school. (Sacramento Bee)

It is will soon be illegal in California for both public and charter schools to suspend disruptive students from kindergarten through eighth grade

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 419, which permanently prohibits willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. It also bans such suspensions in grades six through eight for five years. The law goes into effect July 1, 2020.

A previous law had already banned schools from suspending defiant kids through third grade.

The claims being made by the supporters of this bill contain all of the SJW language you would expect. One legislator claimed the new rules would “keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.”

The same lawmaker went on to describe the bill as being “one of the best ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Pardon me if I pause the celebration to inject a few slices of reality. First of all, as sad as it may be to admit, some of those kids aren’t going to “thrive” under any circumstances without more support from their families. The idea of public schools being “free” babysitters five days a week is still an issue we’re dealing with all across the country. Just look at the pitiful attendance at so many PTA meetings in every community. Without sufficient support at home in terms of both discipline and inspiration, too many kids are simply not going to make the grade. (Both literally and figuratively.)

As for the “school-to-prison pipeline” we keep hearing about, the previous paragraph applies as well. This is particularly problematic in schools in economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods plagued by gang violence. The tragic fact is that without some serious intervention and home support, some of those kids are going to wind up behind bars (assuming they survive) no matter what you do.

But that’s not the only problem to address here. By eliminating suspensions for disruptive and defiant behavior, you provide positive reinforcement for bad or even potentially dangerous behavior. Why would the students suddenly start behaving in a civilized, acceptable manner if they know there are little to no consequences for their violations? The answer is that they wouldn’t.

And where does this road lead? Take a look at Baltimore. Students have been physically attacking teachers and other administrative staff, with some of them being sent to the hospital. We’re not just talking about high school, either. It’s going on in middle school, the same age group this new California law will apply to. And it’s happening in other cities as well.

Before things reach that level, the school needs a more drastic way to restore order and send a message stronger than just detention. Suspending a student puts the problem squarely in the view of the parents. Now they may be missing work or having to arrange extra childcare during the weekdays. When the consequences of the bad behavior land in the parents’ laps instead of the teachers, it may inspire them to get involved and bring their out-of-control brats into line.

Way to go, California. As if it wasn’t hard enough being a teacher as it is.

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David Strom 6:01 AM on June 06, 2023