California law bars suspensions for talking back to teachers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A new California law says elementary and middle schools can’t suspend students for infractions like falling asleep in class or talking back to the teacher.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill Monday banning public and charter schools from suspending students for “willful defiance.”

California already prohibits suspensions for students up to the third grade. The new law extends a permanent ban to grades four and five. It temporarily restricts them for grades six through eight until 2025.

Democratic Sen. Nancy Skinner, who authored the bill, says state data shows students of color are more likely to be suspended for willful defiance than white students.

The new law takes effect next July 1.