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LAUSD considers banning defiance suspensions

May 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District on Tuesday will consider changes that would ban suspensions of students for basic bad behavior or "willful defiance."

The proposed change would be the first of its kind in California. Suspensions would still apply to students involved in criminal activity, but not those who are simply deemed defiant by a teacher.

Students currently can be suspended for refusing to remove a hat or cursing at a teacher. Monica Garcia, LAUSD board president, says kicking a student out of the classroom isn't the right approach.

"What we're trying to do is to create the culture where students feel support and where there are consequences, appropriate consequences, for behavior we need to extinguish. But we do not want to deny young people the ability to learn because we've had a bad day, we're kicking a chair, we're choosing poor language," said Garcia.

Critics of the ban say defiant kids disrupt classes and reduce learning time for others in the classroom.

Garfield High School is one of the schools in the district that is trying to engage students rather than hand down a harsh punishment. For the past three years, only three students have been suspended compared to four years ago, when 638 were sent home for bad behavior. The principal at Garfield High says if you're sending a student home, you can't teach them.

A large turnout is expected at the board meeting, which starts at noon.


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