Statement on Passage of SB 607 – Keep Kids in School Act

May 8, 2017

On Monday, Senate Bill 607, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (Berkeley) passed the Senate floor by a vote of 29-9-2.

Recognizing that student suspensions can do more harm than good Senate Bill 607 eliminates willful defiance as grounds for suspension and expulsion for students grades K through 12th. The prohibition on such suspensions would be permanent for grades K-5th with a 10 year sunset date for grades 6th-12th. SB 607 encourages schools and districts to utilize alternatives to traditional school discipline practices. The bill received bi-partisan support.

“There’s growing understanding that suspensions don’t improve behavior rather they sentence students to failure,” said Skinner. “SB 607 recognizes our job is to keep kids in school and help them succeed.”

In 2013, the Legislature passed AB 420, which eliminated this category of suspension for students in grades K through 3. Additionally, five California school districts have fully eliminated willful defiance as grounds for suspension, including Oakland Unified in Senator Skinner’s District, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pasadena, and Azusa.

“SB 607 is about doing what’s best for students and teachers,” stated Skinner. “If students are disruptive SB 607 retains teachers ability to remove a student from the classroom, at the same time ensuring that students are kept in school where they can continue to learn.”

SB 607 is co-sponsored by PolicyLink, Children Now, Public Counsel, Black Parallel School Board,

Anti-Defamation League, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Mid City Can, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and the Fix School Discipline Coalition, Fight Crime Invest in Kids, Brothers Sons Selves Coalition, and Youth Justice Coalition. The bill is also supported by an additional thirty organizations throughout California. The bill has no opposition.