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CA law will prohibit "willful defiance" suspensions for middle and high school students

The California Healthy Kids Survey includes responses from students around the state, including San Luis Obispo County schools like SLO High.
Mark Nakamura
San Luis Obispo High School

It will soon be prohibited to suspend Central Coast students in middle school and high school for low-level behavioral actions — it is part of a new state law.

Students exercising “willful defiance,” or bad behaviors like, talking back to teachers or using their mobile devices without permission, will no longer be punished through suspension. That’s because Senate Bill 274 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2023

It was drafted with the intention of lowering dropout rates. According to the Learning Policy Institute, students of color are disproportionately affected by these punishments and are more likely to drop out of school.

The state already banned these types of suspensions for elementary school students. However, schools could still suspend or expel students for actions like violence or drug use. The bill is expected to go into effect July 1.

KCBX Reporter Sarina Grossi is a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate. At Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor and reporter for KCPR Radio and as the Digital Manager for Mustang Media Group. Sarina was editor-in-chief of her community college newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and go to thrift and antique stores.
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