LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials with the Los Angeles Unified school district will consider a proposal this week to limit the use of “willful defiance” by students as a suspendable offense.

School board President Monica Garcia introduced the “2013 School Discipline Policy and School Climate Bill of Rights” proposal last month as part of a plan to establish new guidelines for how school officials discipline students.

In a motion filed on April 16, Garcia proposed “developing a culture of discipline grounded in positive behavior interventions and away from punitive approaches that infringe on instruction time” and reserving the disciplinary action “as a last resort for intervention.”

The motion cited a study by EdSource indicating that 36 percent of suspensions districtwide and 42 percent throughout the state of California are attributed to “willful defiance”.

Garcia also claimed that a “disproportionate number of African American students and students with disabilities are suspended relative to their counterparts.”

Under the proposal, no LAUSD student would be suspended or expelled for willful defiance beginning in the fall of 2013.

By 2020, schools would be required to implement alternatives to traditional disciplinary measures that “focus on healing, respect, support, and the general well-being of the students involved.”

The motion would also give students the right to “School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS)” intended to reduce suspensions, increase attendance, and improve test scores.

If passed, the proposal could possibly provide momentum for Sacramento lawmakers to pass Assembly Bill 420, which limits the use of suspension or expulsion for any student who has “disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority” of school personnel.

AB 420 is currently in committee in the state Assembly.

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