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Analysis: ‘Willful Defiance’ School Suspensions Have Health Impacts

January 30, 2017

“In the 2012-13 school year, almost 260,000 student suspensions in California public schools — more than 40 percent of the total — were for “willful defiance” of authority. Willful defiance was the single most common reason for suspension and more students were suspended for willful defiance than for drugs, weapons and violence combined.


Mirroring a nationwide shift from “zero tolerance” policies that grew out of the War on Drugs, some large school districts in the state, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have banned willful defiance suspensions. Legislation that would end the practice statewide, AB 420 by California state Assemblymember Roger Dickinson of Sacramento, stalled during last session due to fears of another veto by the governor but will be considered again this year.


The Health Officers Association of California, representing the physician health officers in 61 counties and cities, commissioned Human Impact Partners to analyze the results of banning willful defiance suspensions. The analysis shows that such suspensions are not just an educational issue, but have far-reaching impacts on public health and well-being that affect all Californians”…


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