California expands ban on ‘willful defiance’ suspensions in schools

California schools will no longer be able to suspend students in elementary and middle school for disrupting school activities or “willfully defying” the authority of teachers or administrators, ending a practice that many say is counterproductive and unfairly applied to black students.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation late Monday ending suspensions in all public and charter schools for “willful defiance” in grades 4 through 5 and banning them in grades 6 to 8 for five years. Such suspensions were already banned in grades K-3.

The broader ban comes in response, in part, to criticism that the willful defiance category of suspensions was a too-broad and arbitrary catchall for any behavior that a teacher finds objectionable, such as repeatedly tapping feet on the floor, refusing to remove a hat or failing to wear a school uniform. Click here to read more: