School discipline disproportionately affects minority students, according to federal, state and local studies. In a victory for civil rights advocates, new laws went into effect this year addressing educational fairness in California schools.

On Thursday, May 2 at noon, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. and the Mexican American Bar Association of Ventura County will provide a CLE presentation on school discipline. $15 fee; BYO brown bag lunch. local attorneys and law students sufficient to prepare attorneys and law students to issuespot and provide basic advice to Ventura County K-12 students and parents in need of help navigating the student discipline process.VAs of January 1, the following new laws address suspension, expulsion and conduct manifestation determinations, and broaden school districts’ obligations:

AB 1729 amends Education Code sections 48900 and 48900.5 to strengthen the alternatives to suspension or expulsion and clarify that school removals should only happen after other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.

AB 2537 amends Education Code section 48915 to provide additional discretion to school administrators to use alternative means of correction in lieu of expulsion and further clarifies that possessing an imitation firearm, over-the-counter medicine or student’s prescription medicines are not “zero tolerance” offenses that automatically require expulsion. It also eliminates an existing $500 fine imposed on a principal who fail to notify law enforcement of certain crimes allegedly committed by students.

AB 2616 amends Education Code section 48260 to focus truancy reduction efforts on solutions with schools, students and parents that are shown to work, so that law enforcement and courts are used only as a last resort.

AB 1909 amends Education Code section 48853.5 to ensure that school districts notify social workers or other county child welfare designees and the court appointed attorney for the foster youth when a foster youth is pending expulsion.

SB 1088 amends Education Code section 48645.5 to help ensure that children who have had contact with the juvenile justice system are not barred from re-enrollment and are immediately re-enrolled in school.

For more information, contact Andres Garcia or Franchesca Gonzalez Andres Garcia is a staff attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. in Oxnard. A second-generation attorney, he obtained his undergraduate degree from UCLA, but went across for law school at USC. Though he earned his law degree at SC, Garcia says “my heart will always remain in Westwood with my undergrad, UCLA.”

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