Each year, suspensions and expulsions affect more than 400,000 California students. Reports released by federal Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Office of Civil Rights, and others show that suspension and expulsion policies are unfairly impacting African American and Latino students. These reports also show that “willful defiance,” an unspecific, non-violent offense that leaves wide margins for interpretation, is the leading reason cited for student suspensions.

AB 420 prohibits the use of willful defiance as cause for expulsion, restricts the use of willful defiance as cause for suspensions and encourages the use of other means of correction and alternative discipline practices. These alternative practices are decreasing student suspensions and expulsions by as much as half in many schools and districts, while improving school climate and student success at the same time. The bill addresses the fact that the state’s current school discipline policies aren’t making our schools safer, better places to learn.

AB 420 passed the Assembly in May of 2013 and moved on to the Senate where it passed the Senate Education Committee in June. The bill’s author, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, has postponed a full Senate floor vote for 2013 in order to work with teachers, school administrators and civil rights groups to ensure that schools are well-prepared to utilize alternative discipline procedures and implement the bill once it passes. We will continue to provide updates on AB 420 via this page, so check back for more news on the legislative process and opportunities to show your support. In the meantime, check out the resources to the right for more information on school discipline issues, including an interactive video on school suspensions in your district.


AB 420 Fact Sheet DOWNLOAD

See how suspensions affect children in your area WATCH


Bill to change ‘willful defiance’ suspension…, EdSource  READ

High school student suspension…, Mercury News  READ

Suspensions Hurt kids, schools and…, Mercury News  READ