When it comes to correcting a child’s behavior in school, it seems common sense flies out the window. Oftentimes, the punishment is out of proportion to the action. For example, a six-year-old boy was suspended from school for his new haircut, a Mohawk. In another school, a kindergartener was suspended for innocently kissing a girl’s hand. Is the punishment of suspension the proper tool to use to correct childhood behaviors? California lawmakers don’t think so.
California is the first state in the nation to pass a law eliminating suspensions for school children in grades K to 3 for disruptive behavior. Assembly Bill No. 420 also eliminates expulsion for all children for minor misbehavior. The new law limits the use of school discipline for the catch-all category “willful defiance” under which 43% of all suspensions are issued. Research shows that even one suspension increases the likelihood of a child dropping out of school, getting into trouble and heading towards the juvenile delinquency system. The law is the latest in a series of school reforms at the local and state levels. Read the changes here.