Excerpts from Press Release: "Superintendent Thurmond has long championed programs to help reduce disproportionate school discipline, starting with his authorship (while in the Assembly) of Assembly Bill (AB) 1014 (Ch. 397, Stats. 2016) which, as of this year, will have resulted in $140.8 million in Proposition 47 grants being moved from the criminal justice system to school prevention grants to help schools reduce suspensions and chronic absenteeism. In 2022, Superintendent Thurmond co-sponsored AB 2806 (Ch. 915, Stats. 2022) by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) to ban expulsion of preschool students, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Superintendent Thurmond is also sponsoring Senate Bill 274 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which will ban suspensions for willful defiance.
“We have to educate our kids—not incarcerate them—and provide them with opportunities for learning and to succeed,” Thurmond said. “Taking students out of learning time through suspensions and expulsions is proven to push them toward the criminal justice system. School districts trying to hide actual discipline rates through practices such as masking expulsions as transfers will not be tolerated.”
Amid reports that some districts have pushed families toward voluntary or involuntary transfer to avoid reporting expulsions, Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are establishing a tip line. This can be used by school staff, parents, students, or community members to report any district involved in practices to mask the use and reporting of discipline or to report disciplinary practices that violate California Education Code, and the CDE will look into these matters."
As a member of the County Board of Education, I have heard from a number of Board Trustees in our local districts that they are primarily implementing "administrative expulsions," in their districts, to avoid the "official" expulsion process. According to this new guidance and initiative from the CDE, we may need to look closer at this data (which is not reported in the same way) to reveal the impact of these practices on student outcomes and the well-intentioned efforts to halt the "school to prison pipeline."
Find the CDE's 2/15/23 Press release at: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr23/yr23rel12.asp