Sacramento (September 30, 2018) – Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President for Healthy California at The California Endowment, released the following statement regarding the veto of SB607. The bill would have expanded the permanent ban on “willful defiance” suspensions from grades K-3 to grades K-5. It also would have imposed a temporary ban on willful defiance suspensions for grades 6-8.
Willful defiance is a subjective, catchall category used to justify removing students from school for minor behavioral infractions, such as talking back. Black and Brown students are suspended far more frequently for willful defiance than are White students, contributing to long term disparities in education, health and employment.
“I am disappointed that Governor Brown did not follow the lead of California’s legislative leaders and is continuing to allow suspensions for willful defiance in grades 4-8.
“California has made progress in reducing school suspensions, but far more is needed. When a student acts out, it is a cry for help, not a cause for exclusion. California data show that missed school days due to suspension soar in the middle school years along with racial and ethnic disparities. Subjective disruption and defiance suspensions are a large part of the reason why.
“California must act boldly to create healthy, caring communities on school campuses and to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that contributes to the mass incarceration of our young people. In place of prison, we must give all young people — whether White, Black or Brown — the education they deserve on campuses that will nurture their success. California’s next governor must work to keep all of our young people in school – where they belong.”
About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.