Reducing the Use of Costly and Harsh School Discipline (AB 420)

Author: Assembly Member Roger Dickinson

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

AB 420 will help keep kids in school by making sure that elementary school students can’t be suspended or expelled for the vague reason of “willful defiance, ” which has a disproportionate impact on students of color.


Suspensions for the minor misbehaviors of "willful defiance" are a statewide epidemic, requiring a statewide solution. California schools issue more suspensions than diplomas every year, and far too many expulsions. Roughly half of all suspensions in California are for "willful defiance."

AB 420 would help fix that by changing how suspensions for “willful defiance” are handled in California. This bill would help students struggling with minor behavior problems, while helping the whole school.

Students who are suspended or expelled are five times more likely to drop out of school. They are also three times more likely to be involved with the juvenile justice system within one year. Keeping kids in school actually reduces violence.

The ACLU of California is a sponsor of AB 420, along with other organizations.



Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.


The bill is now a two-year bill.


California Assembly passes AB 420.


AB 420 introduced to reduce the use of harsh school discipline.