California Promise Neighborhoods Bill Passes CA Assembly ED Committee! (Plus Video of Proceedings)

16 May 2013 |
California Promise Neighborhoods Bill Passes CA Assembly ED Committee! (Plus Video of Proceedings)

Great news from L.A., where L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD) has become the first school district in the country to ban suspension for “willful defiance.”

Many people have criticized willful defiance as a subjective term that results in students being removed from class for behavior that teachers misunderstand or misinterpret as threatening. Suspensions for willful defiance account for 48 percent of all suspensions in California and disproportionately impact African American males and students with disabilities. Suspensions lower academic achievement and increase the likelihood of dropping-out, but have been shown to have no impact on reducing future misbehavior. Instead of suspending these students, LAUSD is now keeping them on campus and using positive behavior incentives and restorative justice to more effectively address behavior problems.

LAUSD’s actions reflect a national movement to reduce suspension rates for all students and for African American males in particular. A recent report from the National School Boards Association highlights the work of several school districts to reform harsh discipline policies and practices. By working with school and district leaders to reduce suspension rates, Promise Neighborhoods are creating positive, inclusive educational environments where all children can succeed.

Black Family Development, lead organization of the Detroit Clark Park/Osborne Promise Neighborhood provides Restorative Justice training to educators, program staff, and youth to ensure that positive alternatives to suspension are understood and practiced. Reading and Beyond, lead organization of the Fresno Promise Neighborhood is involved in a statewide advocacy effort with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color to promote more balanced school discipline policies in California.

Keep up the good work, Promise Neighborhoods!