Home » State Bill Seeking To Ban Willful Defiance Suspensions Headed To Newsom’s Desk

State Bill Seeking To Ban Willful Defiance Suspensions Headed To Newsom’s Desk


A state Senate bill seeking to keep kids in California’s schools by prohibiting the suspension of public school students for low-level behavior issues known as “willful defiance” is now headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk after clearing both the state Assembly and Senate.

Senate Bill 274, or the “Keep Kids in School” bill, proposed by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, passed the state Assembly on a vote of 61-13, and won approval in the Senate on a 32-6 vote. The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk, the senator’s office announced this week.

“Suspending students, no matter what the age, fails to improve student behavior and greatly increases the likelihood that the student will fail classes or drop out of school completely,” Skinner said in a statement Wednesday.

“SB 274 puts the needs of students first. Instead of kicking them out of school, we owe it to students to help them succeed,” the senator added.


According to Skinner’s office, willful defiance suspensions tend to be levied for low-level disruptions, such as a student wearing a hat backward, falling asleep in class, or talking back to a teacher.

Additionally, the suspensions have been disproportionately directed at students of color, LGBTQ students, students who are homeless or in foster care, and those with disabilities, the senator’s office said.

SB 274 builds on Senate Bill 419, proposed by Skinner in 2019 and signed into law by the governor to permanently ban willful defiance suspensions in grades TK-5 and prohibit them in grades 6-8 until 2025.

Under SB 274, willful defiance suspensions would be barred in grades 6-12, with a sunset of July 1, 2029, in all California public schools.


In addition, under SB 274, teachers would be able to remove a student from a specific class for unruly behavior, but the youth would not be suspended from school. Instead, it would be up to school administrators to determine appropriate and timely in-school interventions or support for the student.

SB 274 would apply to both traditional public schools and charter schools. It would also bar schools from suspending or expelling students for being tardy or truant.

According to the 2018 report “Get Out! Black Male Suspensions in California Public Schools,” suspensions for willful defiance represented 21 percent of all suspensions of Black male students in California middle schools. In high schools, it was 26 percent.


SAM September 15, 2023 - 6:28 PM - 6:28 PM

I have an idea. Why not segregate black students into all black schools with black staff. With white students in all white schools and mexicans in all mexican schools, gays in all gay schools.
Each race can behave according to their own culture. See who ends up ruling the world and see who ends up killing each other. That would be fun

The Fearless Spectator September 15, 2023 - 7:13 PM - 7:13 PM

Another very sneaky bill.
A suspension brings the problem to the attention of the parents.
This bill is designed to keep parents in the dark.
They killed AB 1314 because it would have forced schools to alert parents if their child has gender issues at school. Newsom and Bonta have basically stated gender issues at school are none of the parents business. With this bill, minor behavior problems will also be hidden from parents until they become major problems. Further the bill discusses “in-school intervention”. No mention of alerting parents.
It’s ironic they named it the “Keep Kids in School Bill”: It bars suspension for Truancy!

El D September 15, 2023 - 11:20 PM - 11:20 PM

Nothing in the bill would prohibit a school from notifying a parent that their child has been removed from class due to poor behavior. Nothing in the bill prohibits a teacher or administrator from calling a parent when their child has behavior issues or academic issues or attendance issues. When my kids were in the public school system, the district did their best to keep parents informed on their child’s progress. As a parent, I could log in to the teacher’s online grade book to see if my child was in class each day and what grades he was receiving on his tests and assignments. I could e-mail the teacher if I had any concerns, and I had teachers call me when they had issues with my child. Nothing was being hidden from parents. In fact, teachers were delighted when a parent showed interest in how their child was doing. This bill does not change that.

WC Resident September 16, 2023 - 8:01 AM - 8:01 AM

@Ed – If it’s not spelled out in the policy then school staff will not do it. While the kids will no longer be fired for failing to follow behavior policy any staff to fails to follow it to the letter is at risk of getting fired. Th odds are that teachers will not notify parents.

Allen Smithee September 15, 2023 - 7:41 PM - 7:41 PM

“disproportionately directed at students of color, LGBTQ students, students who are homeless or in foster care, and those with disabilities”…maybe because these are the frequent offenders…I worked in a school district in SoCal years back and a summons was isssued to parents/guardians of students with chronic discipline issues and they would have to explain to a judge why this was happening…it was effective

Parent September 15, 2023 - 7:42 PM - 7:42 PM

It affects other races genders blah blah blah more than others … don’t believe that for a moment. That is just a line today that has lost all impact.

But let’s handcuff our teachers even more. They cannot discipline the kids who are willfully failing to comply with school standards.

Suspended a kid does teach a kid consequences .. but then again this stupid hairbrain idea does come from Berkely …. Where there are no longer consequences for anything.

Oh, please September 16, 2023 - 6:52 PM - 6:52 PM

Kids who do not want to be in school ruin it for those who do and suck resources that could be better used on those who will succeed. These kids need a separate path. Just teach them a trade and be done with them. Let the kids who have strong academics and can behave benefit from traditional school.

Ricardoh September 15, 2023 - 7:45 PM - 7:45 PM

Mt Diablo has a high school in Concord for kids that are a problem At least they did have. Trouble makers in schools hurt every student. They can’t be in a normal classroom period.

Amateur Teacher September 15, 2023 - 8:27 PM - 8:27 PM

As usual for Democrat problem solving- prohibit something but offer no means to solve the issue more optimally. Thus leaving those affected to “figure it out” with no money and under staffing.

Two Wheeler September 15, 2023 - 9:23 PM - 9:23 PM

More coddling of those that behave poorly.

El D September 15, 2023 - 10:49 PM - 10:49 PM

I’d rather have a problem student serve an in-school detention instead of kicking him out to roam the neighborhood unsupervised.

tashaj September 16, 2023 - 8:41 AM - 8:41 AM

In theory – yes. But in practice, suspension is usually the last resort to attract the attention of parents to their child’s disruptive behavior. Because that’s what “willful defiance” is – disruptive behavior preventing other kids from learning.
Getting a call from a teacher or administrator is annoying, and having to come to school for a meeting with vice principal is even more so. But when you have to figure out what to do with your kid because he (mostly, a he) is suspended – that brings the message home: your child, your problem.
While giving them in-school detention requires more staff to supervise them and because for many of these kids, disruptive behavior is nothing but a way of getting attention, they essentially get rewarded for it.

Oh, please September 16, 2023 - 6:53 PM - 6:53 PM

Yes. We are just spending more money on those that it will never help, and robbing the kids who would benefit.

whenwilltheylearn September 16, 2023 - 3:07 AM - 3:07 AM

they blame it on race or lifestyle…….so do I,they are the bad ones,and reverse discrimination is for idiots IE leftists.

S September 16, 2023 - 6:20 AM - 6:20 AM

Looks like the last check from the CTA musta’ bounced….

domo September 16, 2023 - 7:56 AM - 7:56 AM

…so wrong… there’s no discipline now – only in Cali …. ridiculous…. if there’s willful defiance then send ’em home no excuses

Setmefree September 16, 2023 - 8:07 AM - 8:07 AM


Rich September 16, 2023 - 3:56 PM - 3:56 PM

Time to turn off the CAPS lock

KBB September 16, 2023 - 8:49 AM - 8:49 AM

I loved my career as a teacher. These days, several years into retirement, I tell myself that this is the best time in history to be a retired teacher. Avoid crap like this and get a steady income!

Original G September 16, 2023 - 10:26 AM - 10:26 AM

Wonderful, schools would will closely follow DEM modified criminal justice system in CA.
Little to no consequences for antisocial or criminal behavior.
Makes ya wonder how voters will reward DEMs next election, for their criminal coddling behavior?

Dr. Jellyfinger September 16, 2023 - 11:17 AM - 11:17 AM

Punish bad behavior?
Well what kind of message does that send?!!!
Oh yeah…. “behave”

Bob September 16, 2023 - 3:29 PM - 3:29 PM

So my kid would not be punished for refusing to participate in any alphabet-indoctrination courses or BLM propaganda, right??


Ricardoh September 16, 2023 - 5:57 PM - 5:57 PM

Could always bring back corporal punishment. LA City Schools in the 1950s they used a canoe paddle on you. Amount of whacks you got on the rear depended on the offense.

Gremlin September 16, 2023 - 6:56 PM - 6:56 PM

Once again, no consequences for poor behavior. And no incentive for the poor behavior to stop. This is just another nail in the coffin for students who come to school to actually learn something.

Led September 17, 2023 - 2:15 PM - 2:15 PM

What are the consequences for all the other kids in a school when defiant misbehavior is handled leniently? Those kids affected are also more likely to be black, Hispanic, etc., compared to students who never get affected by widespread misbehavior. It’s the non-offending kids who are most affected. But who cares about them, right??

whenwilltheylearn September 17, 2023 - 10:00 PM - 10:00 PM

“a hat on backward”?
You can’t wear any hat in any class.On backward,see what they are imply,that they would pick on people acting”different”
No,they go after the trouble makers and surprise,look who they are.

SAM September 18, 2023 - 5:08 AM - 5:08 AM

We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control.

Original G September 18, 2023 - 6:59 PM - 6:59 PM

Add to already long list of advantages of home schooling.

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