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DICKINSON.jpgA bill to restrict how students are disciplined under the broadly used grounds called "willful defiance" is being shelved for this legislative session.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, said more time is needed to bring the education community and civil rights advocates together on Assembly Bill 420. Dickinson said he plans to take the bill up again next year.

"This subject isn't going away," Dickinson said. "If anything, it's becoming more poignant as there is more research around the subject."

Dickinson was joined by civil rights advocates in calling for school districts to address the disproportionately high number of expulsions and suspensions among several groups, including black, Hispanic, students with disabilities and gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth. AB 420 cleared an Assembly floor vote 52-23 in May and was up for a Senate floor vote prior to being sent to the inactive file.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by Dickinson last year, saying it's "important that teachers and school officials retain broad discretion to manage and set the tone in the classroom."

Dickinson said he wanted to further work "with teachers and administrators in school districts so when the bill becomes law, they will be prepared for alternative means of discipline." His bill would eliminate the option of expelling a student for "willful defiance" in all grades, but allowed for its use in suspensions in sixth through 12th grades.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, in a 2010 file photo. The Sacramento Bee / Hector Amezcua


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