Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician who Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed in January, is recognized as a pioneer in the study of how adverse childhood experiences affect brain development and life-long health.
The study found that students from Southeast Asian countries, like Vietnam and Cambodia, had suspension and expulsion rates that were 2 to 3 times higher than those from China, Japan and other East Asian countries.
A new bill proposed by state Sen. Nancy Skinner would ban out-of-school suspensions in all grades for student behavior deemed “defiant and disruptive” by school authorities. Advocates hopeful Gov. Newsom will be more receptive than Jerry Brown, who vetoed two previous bills.
Students and advocates are loudly protesting a plan to significantly cut staff from the popular initiative, which emphasizes alternatives to punitive discipline approaches like suspension and expulsion.
The report strongly recommended rescinding the Obama policies that both emphasized alternatives to suspensions and expulsions and highlighted data showing that students of color and those with disabilities were more likely than white students to face these punishments.
Brown's decision is a bitter disappointment for youth and civil rights advocates who have made eliminating suspensions for "disruption and defiance," which are disproportionately meted out to students of color, a priority.
Instruction days lost to suspensions dropped nearly by half from 2011-12 to 2016-17, according to a new report. But African American and Native American students -- and students with disabilities -- are still suspended at disproportionately high rates.
The report, based on federal government data from 2015-16, also found that racial disparities in suspensions remain an acute problem. Nationwide, African-American students lost five times as many days as white students.