July 11, 2019

Educators for Excellence-Los Angeles Reacts to the Passage of SB 419 (Reducing Suspensions for Minor Incidents) in the Assembly Education Committee

July 11 (Los Angeles) — Educators for Excellence–Los Angeles (E4E-Los Angeles), a teacher-led organization, celebrated the Assembly Education Committee’s passage of SB 419, which will permanently prohibit schools across California from suspending students for “willful defiance” of school staff for grades four through eight.

“Eliminating ‘willful defiance’ as a reason for suspension will push school leaders across the state to employ approaches to discipline that are based in love, empathy and understanding,” said Ashley Miller, Magnet Coordinator at Crenshaw High School and member of E4E-Los Angeles. “It’s time for our state to transform our schools by investing in strategies like restorative justice, social emotional learning and positive behavior support and interventions that will increase academic outcomes, create safer schools and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.”

“SB 419 is an example of lawmakers heeding the call from our youth to prioritize educational equity and justice,” said Ama Nyamekye, Executive Director of E4E-Los Angeles. “The Los Angeles Unified School District became a pioneer in reducing suspensions when it passed the School Climate Bill of Rights, which ended ‘willful defiance’ as a means for suspension and promised to end harmful discipline policies that push students -- particularly boys of color -- out of our schools. Our teacher leaders are dedicated to advocating for district and union policies that reduce racial discipline disparities across LAUSD.”

In June 2014, E4E-Los Angeles published “The Equity Movement,” a teacher-written policy paper that outlined ways to reduce racial discipline disparities across LAUSD. In June 2019, E4E-Los Angeles sent a letter to the state legislature to support Senate Bill 419 along with other organizations, including PolicyLink and Public Counsel. In May 2018, E4E-Los Angeles joined 12 organizations in sending a letter to the state legislature to support Senate Bill 607, which would have improved student outcomes and encouraged schools to adopt alternatives to suspensions and expulsions by eliminating defiance and disruption suspensions and expulsions for students in grades K-5.