CA Senate bill, SB-419, sailed through the state legislature last week, on a party-line vote. If passed into law, it would ban schools from suspending students for disrupting school activities or "willful defiance" of authority figures, including teachers, staff, and administrators. The legislation would impact public and charter school students in grades four through eight, starting next year. SB-419 would also extend to grades nine through 12, but that provision would expire in 2025.
In her Fox Nation show "First Thoughts", Lahren said she's not necessarily in favor of suspending disruptive students, but she believes that this bill is part of a troubling trend in the state.
"I don't think expulsion is the best way to punish students...because simply casting them out doesn't solve the problems that likely stem from the student's household, upbringing or other factors. However, my issue is that it seems to me that this state is going out of its way to coddle those who make it harder for others to live, work and learn," said Lahren.
Since 2015, it has been illegal in California to suspend students in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Some school discipline reform advocates want to expand the reach of these restrictions because data shows that these punishments impact minority students and those with disabilities at a disproportionate rate.
A bill similar to SB-419 was vetoed by former CA Governor Jerry Brown in the last legislative session. At the time, Brown said, "Teachers and principals are on the front lines of educating our children and are in the best position to make decisions about order and discipline in the classrooms." Now, advocates of SB-419 reportedly believe that they have a better chance of passing their bill under the current governor, Gavin Newsom.
Lahren said that the mentality behind this bill is a recipe for disaster. "Start showing kids their poor choices and bad actions don't come with serious consequences and they will continue to act out. What starts as disobeying or acting out in the classroom can become breaking the law or endangering the community later in life, and then California's felon-friendly laws...kick in -- or don't kick in -- and we start having what we are seeing on the streets today," said Lahren.
Recently, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling for new language guidelines for referring to former convicts. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the non-binding resolution urges officials to refer to convicted felons or offenders released from custody as a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person or just a “returning resident.” The local officials say the new language will help change people’s views about those who commit crimes.
"Our Democratic-voting residents wonder why we have all these problems. Hello! You can't decriminalize, rename and deflect the mess away. It's here and it's getting worse. It's time for personal responsibility, accountability, and justice to mean something again. Giving passes doesn't benefit anyone, especially the young people that you are enabling," concluded Lahren.
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