California sees big drop in student suspensions, expulsions

Jan 14, 2015 6:00 PM by News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Fewer students are being expelled or suspended from California's public schools now that state officials are encouraging educators to address misbehavior with less punitive methods.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Wednesday that suspensions and expulsions have dropped markedly in the last two years. A little more than 279,300 students were suspended during the 2013-14 school year, 24 percent fewer than two years earlier.

The 6,611 students who were expelled from their schools represented a 31 percent decline from the 2011-12 year.

Torlakson said the decrease in suspensions was driven by schools relying much less on "willful defiance" as a reason to discipline students. Civil rights advocates have argued that judging a child's behavior as defiant and willful is too arbitrary and culturally biased to serve as the basis for removal from class or school.

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