Last month, a federal Department of Education report that looked at public school discipline quantified a disproportionate amount of discipline aimed at students of color, with black students, especially boys " and to a lesser degree, Latino students " subject to more suspension, more expulsion, and when they are disabled, more physical restraint than their white peers.
The zero-tolerance policies that have spread in public schools in the last decade have often been cited as a reasons for the rise in suspensions and expulsions, with students punished for lesser offenses that can range from dress code and cell phone violations to what's referred to as "willful defiance."
This, explains Tami Abdollah of KPCC's Pass/Fail education blog, is "an often very subjective classification that includes behavior such as failing to bring materials to class, not paying attention or talking back." She lists a series of California Assembly bills that seek to reduce school suspensions and create better accountability for discipline, including a bill that would reduce defiance-related suspensions. The bills cleared a committee vote earlier this week. They are: