On October 3, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 667, which generally requires schools to inform students about other means of correction that were attempted before suspending a student at the mandatory informal disciplinary conferences. This bill takes effect January 1, 2018.
Education Code section 48911, subdivision (b), requires a student being suspended to be informed during the mandatory informal pre-suspension conference of the reason for the suspension and the evidence against the student. The student must be given the chance to tell his or her side of the story and to produce any evidence to support it. AB 667 will now also require that students be informed of the other means of correction that were attempted prior to suspension. Other means of correction, defined under Education Code section 48900.5, include, but are not limited to, referrals to a school counselor, a student study team, a restorative justice program, after-school programs and a special education assessment.
AB 667 does not change the law about when other means of correction must be attempted before a school district can suspend a student. Under Education Code section 48900.5, there are certain disciplinary violations or facts and circumstances which permit schools to suspend students for a first offense and before use of other means of correction.
AB 667 continues the Legislature's desire to reduce the total number of suspensions and expulsions since the passage of AB 420 in 2014, which limited school districts' ability to suspend and expel students for disrupting school activities or committing an act of willful defiance. (See 2014 Client News Brief No. 72
.) These measures are rooted in studies which show over half of students with multiple suspensions are chronically absent, boys are three times more likely to be suspended than girls, and students of color, foster youth, and low-income students are disproportionately suspended. The California Department of Education has reported a 34 percent drop in suspensions and a 40 percent drop in expulsions since AB 420 was implemented.
School districts and county offices of education will need to update their disciplinary procedures to ensure that this new notice requirement at the informal pre-suspension conference is met.
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