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Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation by a Sacramento assemblyman designed to restrict expulsions or lengthy suspensions for students who disrupt school activities or defy campus staff.

In vetoing Assembly Bill 2242, Brown said that "it is important that teachers and school officials retain broad discretion to manage and set the tone in the classroom."

Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson proposed the bill as a way to replace lengthy "willful defiance" punishments with supervised detention, community service or other alternatives.

Dickinson touted AB 2242 as a way to increase school attendance while keeping struggling students who misbehave on campus, not on streets where they would lose important instructional time and increase their prospects for dropping out of school.

AB 2242 also could help ensure that students of color are not disproportionately harmed by expulsion or lengthy suspension for low-level, subjective offenses like willful defiance, according to Dickinson.

The bill would have barred only penalties of expulsion or suspensions of more than five days for willful defiance, which can range from talking back to a teacher to failing to turn in homework or throwing school furniture.

The measure would have continued to allow severe penalties, including expulsion, for acts of harassment, threats or intimidation.

"I cannot support limiting the authority of local school leaders, especially at a time when budget cuts have greatly increased class sizes and reduced the number of school personnel," Brown said in his veto message.

"The principle of subsidiarity calls for greater, not less, deference to our elected school boards which are directly accountable to the citizenry."


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