Sacramento (June 27, 2018) – Anthony Iton, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, released the following statement regarding adoption of the state budget. The budget includes a provision that makes permanent the current ban on suspensions for “willful defiance” in grades K-3, which was first implemented in 2015. The existing prohibition had been scheduled to sunset in July.
Willful defiance is a subjective, catchall category used to justify removing students from school for minor behavioral infractions, such as talking back. Black and Brown students are suspended far more frequently for willful defiance than are White students, contributing to long term disparities in education, health and employment.
“I commend Governor Brown and California’s legislative leaders for making the ban on willful defiance suspensions in grades K-3 permanent and for investing in alternatives to suspension. Today’s action is an important step forward.”
“If California continues to act boldly to end its reliance on overly subjective and exclusionary school discipline policies, we can both create healthy, caring communities on school campuses and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that contributes to the mass incarceration of young people in California. In place of prison, we must give all young people — whether White, Black or Brown — the education they deserve on campuses that will nurture their success.”
About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.