The California Teachers Association released a survey last month in which almost 9 out of 10 teachers that were surveyed claimed that they need more training and support to figure out alternatives to suspensions. The issues have arisen from Assembly Bill 420 (AB 420), which was passed in 2015 and eliminated the ability to suspend students in kindergarten through third grade for “willfully defiant” or disruptive behavior or expel K-12 students for the same behaviors. Schools and teachers adopted “restorative practices,” which is meant to allow students to make amends, and programs that provide counseling and teach emotional and positive skills. Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, stated:

We think the restorative and positive practices are the right direction to go. Where it’s being done well, it’s great… Not many [districts] are providing teachers with the resources to present it properly. What’s happening is these students are being thrown back into the classroom and nothing has been done to deal with their behavior. There continue to be disruptions, causing frustrations on both sides.

After AB 420 was passed, there was no new training for teachers to learn how to address the disruptive or “willfully defiant” behavior. It sounds a bit like teachers are being forced to be psychologists in the classrooms and hopefully school districts can give the teachers the training and support that they need to help the students succeed.

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