Lawmakers Extend Limits on Disruption and Defiance Discipline, Expand Use of Uniform Complaint Procedures

Lozano Smith Client News Brief
July 2018
Number 31

State lawmakers have indefinitely extended previously approved limits on disciplining students for defiance and disruption and have expanded the list of issues that may be addressed through the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP).

The changes were included in a budget trailer bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 1808, and became effective when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill on June 27.

Extension of Limits on Student Discipline for Disruption and Willful Defiance

AB 1808 eliminated the July 1, 2018 sunset date on limitations for disciplining students under Education Code section 48900, subdivision (k), for disruption and willful defiance. AB 420, which lawmakers approved in 2014, eliminated school districts' ability to suspend students in kindergarten through grade 3 for disruption and willful defiance. (See 2014 Client News Brief No. 72.) AB 420 also prohibited school districts from recommending expulsion based upon disruption or willful defiance for any student, regardless of grade level. These limits were set to sunset, or automatically be repealed, on July 1, 2018. AB 1808, however, has indefinitely extended the limitations on discipline under Education Code section 48900, subdivision (k).

Accordingly, districts should continue to implement existing law and procedures regarding the restrictions on student discipline for disruption and willful defiance.

New Issues Covered by Uniform Complaint Procedures

AB 1808 also added Education Code sections 8235.5 and 33315, subdivision (a)(1)(O), which now require districts that operate California state preschool programs to process complaints regarding preschool health and safety under those districts' UCPs. Specifically, complaints regarding deficiencies related to preschool health and safety issues for state preschool programs are now subject to the UCP. Education Code section 8235.5 requires a notice to be posted in each California state preschool program classroom notifying parents, guardians, pupils, and teachers of the following in order to identify appropriate subjects of a complaint:

  • The health and safety requirements required by title 5 of the California Code of Regulations which apply to California state preschool programs, such as "sanitary, neat, and clean condition of the school premises and freedom of the premises from conditions that would create a fire or life hazard" (Cal. Code Regs., Tit. 5, § 630) ;and

  • The location where someone can obtain a form to file a complaint. Providing a downloadable form on the district website is sufficient to meet this requirement.
Additionally, as with other grounds for filing a complaint under the UCP, Education Code section 33315, subdivision (a)(1)(O) requires districts to include information in their annual notice to parents regarding their right to file a complaint under the UCP for deficiencies in preschool health and safety requirements.

Given that the provisions of AB 1808 are already effective, districts that operate state preschool programs must take steps to update their board policies and administrative regulations regarding the UCP. If feasible, districts should also seek to ensure their annual notice to parents is amended to include these additional grounds for filing complaints under the UCP.

If you have any questions regarding AB 1808 or any other matters related to student discipline or the UCP, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also visit our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or download our Client News Brief App.
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As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.