Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

Legislative History on Alternative Discipline in California

  • In 2013, the Legislature passed AB 420, which prohibited willful defiance suspensions statewide for grades K-3 until July 2018.
  • The ban on K-3 suspensions was made permanent in a 2018-19 budget trailer bill. 
  • SB 419 now extends the existing ban on willful defiance suspensions to grades 4 and 5 statewide, with the prohibition on such suspensions for grades 6 through 8, sunsetting in five years. Source
A Tale of Two Schools Carlos has a heated argument with his parents before leaving for school, so he’s running late. Let’s see the difference that restorative politics and practices can make. Carlos Arrives at School Restorative Practices-Based Education System: Teachers and administrators welcome him and his fellow students as they enter Zero-Tolerance Education System: He is greeted by metal detectors and a police search Carlos is late to first period class Restorative Practices-Based Education System: his teacher waits until after class to speak with Carlos to learn more, and sets up a meeting with his school counselor. Zero-Tolerance Education System: His teacher scolds him in front of the class. Carlos talks back and is given detention. Carlos gets into a minor altercation in the cafeteria Restorative Practices-Based Education System: Student peer mediators and support staff interene, have the students sit down together and de-escalate the situation. Zero-Tolerance Education System: A school police officer detains and arrests both students. Later that afternoon Restorative Practices-Based Education System: Carlos and the other student agree to help clean the cafeteria during a free period. Carlos meets with his counselor and parents after school to help resolve the conflict at home. Zero-Tolerance Education System: Carlos is held in juvenile detention facility all afternoon, missing school. He now has an arrest record and is facing suspension.

The illustration shows the difference between a system using restorative practices and one using zero tolerance.