California’s public schools are now following a controversial rule that allows unruly students to go unpunished despite disrupting the classroom.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (pictured below) has signed into law Senate Bill 419, which bans suspending students in grades four through eight who are show “willful defiance” in the classroom, The Sacramento Bee reported last week.
The law, which is targeted at keeping minority students in school, goes into effect in 2020.
The state senator who wrote the new law has said it “puts the needs of kids first” by keeping them in school where teachers and counselors can help them “thrive,” the story stated.
Jonathan Butcher of The Heritage Foundation says attempting to help minority students begins with addressing fatherless homes, and living in impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods.
“Saying that minority students are suspended at higher rates than their peers,” he says, “it doesn't really tell us what some people would like us to think it's telling us."
Butcher, a senior education policy analyst at Heritage, reminds OneNewsNow that the Obama administration enacted the no-suspension rule through the U.S. Department of Education but it was scrapped by the Trump administration late last year.
In his online commentary about the California law, Butcher points out that Jerry Brown, California’s former governor, vetoed a similar bill in 2012 arguing that teachers and principals on the “front lines” of education should be allowed to decide discipline issues.
The Federal Commission on School Safety, which recommended rescinding the Obama-era policy last year, also argued for giving teachers the freedom to address disorderly behavior in their own classroom.
“A student who's been acting out, who's been willfully defiant for example,” Butcher says, “if you leave that child in the classroom, research shows that the kids sitting next to them are going to struggle to achieve academically."