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AB-1261 Pupil discipline: pupil suicide prevention.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/03/2017 09:00 PM
AB1261:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 03, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1261


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 48915 of, and to add Section 48916.7 to, Sections 215 and 48900.5 of the Education Code, relating to pupil discipline.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1261, as amended, Berman. Pupil discipline: expulsions: pupil suicide prevention.
Existing law requires the governing body of a local educational agency that serves pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to adopt a policy on pupil suicide prevention that specifically addresses the needs of high-risk groups.

Existing law requires the principal or the superintendent of schools to recommend the expulsion of a pupil for certain acts, including the unlawful possession of certain controlled substances, committed at school or at a school activity off school grounds, unless the principal or superintendent determines that expulsion should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct.

This bill would require the principal or superintendent to consider specified factors, consistent with the local educational agency’s pupil suicide prevention policy, in determining whether expulsion for the offense of unlawful possession of certain controlled substances for a pupil in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would require, in developing a pupil suicide prevention policy in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts, a local educational agency with a mandatory expulsion policy or zero tolerance policy for the use of, possession of, or being under the influence of, alcohol, an intoxicant, or a controlled substance to consider whether the mandatory expulsion policy or zero tolerance policy is deterring pupils from seeking help for substance abuse. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Existing law prohibits a pupil from being suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed one of certain acts, including having unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished, or been under the influence of, an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant of any kind. Existing law requires suspension to be imposed on a pupil only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct, and specifies that other means of correction include, among other things, referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel for case management and counseling.

This bill would require, if a local educational agency has a policy that recommends expulsion for unlawfully possessing, using, or being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant, the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled to consider, as part of that recommendation, whether expulsion for a pupil in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct. The bill would require the consideration to include specified factors, consistent with the local educational agency’s pupil suicide prevention policy. To the extent that this requirement would impose additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would include referrals to mental health professionals in other means of correction for purposes of the latter provision.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 1999 the Surgeon General of the United States issued a Call to Action to Prevent Suicide to implement strategies to reduce the stigma associated not only with suicidal behavior and mental illness, but also with substance use disorders.
(b) Both mental illness and substance use disorders are known risk factors for suicide.
(c) According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, alcohol and drug misuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders as the most frequent risk factors for suicidal behavior.
(d) According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a diagnosis of alcohol misuse or dependence is associated with a suicide risk that is 10 times greater than the suicide risk in the general population, and individuals who inject drugs are at about 14 times greater risk for suicide.
(e) According to the latest 2013 data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults 10 to 24 years of age, inclusive.
(f) As children and teens spend a significant amount of their young lives in school, the personnel who interact with them on a daily basis are in a prime position to recognize the warning signs of suicide and make the appropriate referrals for help.
(g) There is a need for prevention and early intervention to help avoid the risk of adolescent suicide.
(h) In California, the governing board or body of a local educational agency that serves pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, is required to adopt a policy on pupil suicide prevention.
(i) The policy on pupil suicide prevention is required to address the needs of high-risk groups including youth with substance use disorders.
SEC. 2.Section 48915 of the Education Code is amended to read:
48915.

(a)(1)Except as provided in subdivisions (c) and (e), the principal or the superintendent of schools shall recommend the expulsion of a pupil for any of the following acts committed at school or at a school activity off school grounds, unless the principal or superintendent determines that expulsion should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct:

(A)Causing serious physical injury to another person, except in self-defense.

(B)Possession of any knife or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the pupil.

(C)(i)Unlawful possession of any controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, except for either of the following:

(I)The first offense for the possession of not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis.

(II)The possession of over-the-counter medication for use by the pupil for medical purposes or medication prescribed for the pupil by a physician.

(ii)For purposes of clause (i), in order to determine whether expulsion for a pupil in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct, the principal or the superintendent of schools shall consider all of the following, consistent with the local educational agency’s policy on pupil suicide prevention adopted pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 215) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1:

(I)Whether the pupil has risk factors for suicide, including, but not limited to, substance use disorders, mental illness, medical conditions and disabilities, self-harm, or attempted suicide.

(II)Whether the pupil should meet with a school-employed mental health professional.

(III)Whether the pupil reached out to a school employee and proactively disclosed committing the offense.

(IV)If the local educational agency has a zero-tolerance policy related to substance use, whether the zero-tolerance policy deterred the pupil from seeking help.

(iii)Nothing in clause (ii) shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging a school employee to diagnose or treat mental illness unless the employee is specifically licensed and employed to do so.

(D)Robbery or extortion.

(E)Assault or battery, as defined in Sections 240 and 242 of the Penal Code, upon any school employee.

(2)If the principal or the superintendent of schools makes a determination as described in paragraph (1), he or she is encouraged to do so as quickly as possible to ensure that the pupil does not lose instructional time.

(b)Upon recommendation by the principal or the superintendent of schools, or by a hearing officer or administrative panel appointed pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 48918, the governing board of a school district may order a pupil expelled upon finding that the pupil committed an act listed in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) or in subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 48900. A decision to expel a pupil for any of those acts shall be based on a finding of one or both of the following:

(1)Other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct.

(2)Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the pupil causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others.

(c)The principal or superintendent of schools shall immediately suspend, pursuant to Section 48911, and shall recommend expulsion of a pupil that he or she determines has committed any of the following acts at school or at a school activity off school grounds:

(1)Possessing, selling, or otherwise furnishing a firearm. This subdivision does not apply to an act of possessing a firearm if the pupil had obtained prior written permission to possess the firearm from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal. This subdivision applies to an act of possessing a firearm only if the possession is verified by an employee of a school district. The act of possessing an imitation firearm, as defined in subdivision (m) of Section 48900, is not an offense for which suspension or expulsion is mandatory pursuant to this subdivision and subdivision (d), but it is an offense for which suspension, or expulsion pursuant to subdivision (e), may be imposed.

(2)Brandishing a knife at another person.

(3)Unlawfully selling a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code.

(4)Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or committing a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900.

(5)Possession of an explosive.

(d)The governing board of a school district shall order a pupil expelled upon finding that the pupil committed an act listed in subdivision (c), and shall refer that pupil to a program of study that meets all of the following conditions:

(1)Is appropriately prepared to accommodate pupils who exhibit discipline problems.

(2)Is not provided at a comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or at any elementary school.

(3)Is not housed at the schoolsite attended by the pupil at the time of suspension.

(e)Upon recommendation by the principal or the superintendent of schools, or by a hearing officer or administrative panel appointed pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 48918, the governing board of a school district may order a pupil expelled upon finding that the pupil, at school or at a school activity off of school grounds, violated subdivision (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), or (m) of Section 48900, or Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, and either of the following:

(1)That other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct.

(2)That due to the nature of the violation, the presence of the pupil causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others.

(f)The governing board of a school district shall refer a pupil who has been expelled pursuant to subdivision (b) or (e) to a program of study that meets all of the conditions specified in subdivision (d). Notwithstanding this subdivision, with respect to a pupil expelled pursuant to subdivision (e), if the county superintendent of schools certifies that an alternative program of study is not available at a site away from a comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or an elementary school, and that the only option for placement is at another comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or another elementary school, the pupil may be referred to a program of study that is provided at a comprehensive middle, junior, or senior high school, or at an elementary school.

(g)As used in this section, “knife” means any dirk, dagger, or other weapon with a fixed, sharpened blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade longer than 312 inches, a folding knife with a blade that locks into place, or a razor with an unguarded blade.

(h)As used in this section, the term “explosive” means “destructive device” as described in Section 921 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

SEC. 3.Section 48916.7 is added to the Education Code, to read:
48916.7.

(a)If a local educational agency has a policy that recommends expulsion for unlawfully possessing, using, or being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant, the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled shall consider, as part of that recommendation, whether expulsion for a pupil in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, should not be recommended under the circumstances or that an alternative means of correction would address the conduct of unlawfully possessing, using, or being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant. The consideration shall include all of the following, consistent with the local educational agency’s policy on pupil suicide prevention adopted pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 215) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1:

(1)Whether the pupil has risk factors for suicide, including, but not limited to, substance use disorders, mental illness, medical conditions and disabilities, self-harm, or attempted suicide.

(2)Whether the pupil should meet with a school-employed mental health professional.

(3)Whether the pupil reached out to a school employee and proactively disclosed committing the offense.

(4)If the local educational agency has a zero-tolerance policy related to substance use, whether that zero-tolerance policy deterred the pupil from seeking help.

(b)Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging a school employee to diagnose or treat mental illness unless the employee is specifically licensed and employed to do so.

(c)Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing mandatory expulsion for the offense of unlawfully possessing, using, or being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant.

(d)Nothing in this section shall be construed as changing existing law related to selling an alcoholic beverage or an intoxicant.

SEC. 2.

 Section 215 of the Education Code is amended to read:

215.
 (a) (1) The governing board or body of a local educational agency that serves pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, shall, before the beginning of the 2017–18 school year, adopt, at a regularly scheduled meeting, a policy on pupil suicide prevention in grades 7 to 12, inclusive. The policy shall be developed in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts and shall, at a minimum, address procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
(2) The policy shall specifically address the needs of high-risk groups, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Youth bereaved by suicide.
(B) Youth with disabilities, mental illness, or substance use disorders.
(C) Youth experiencing homelessness or in out-of-home settings, such as foster care.
(D) Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning youth.
(3) (A) The policy shall also address any training to be provided to teachers of pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, on suicide awareness and prevention.
(B) Materials approved by a local educational agency for training shall include how to identify appropriate mental health services, both at the schoolsite and within the larger community, and when and how to refer youth and their families to those services.
(C) Materials approved for training may also include programs that can be completed through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials.
(4) In developing a pupil suicide prevention policy in consultation with school and community stakeholders, school-employed mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts, a local educational agency with a mandatory expulsion policy or zero tolerance policy for the use of, possession of, or being under the influence of, alcohol, an intoxicant, or a controlled substance shall consider whether the mandatory expulsion policy or zero tolerance policy is deterring pupils from seeking help for substance abuse.

(4)

(5) The policy shall be written to ensure that a school employee acts only within the authorization and scope of the employee’s credential or license. Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging a school employee to diagnose or treat mental illness unless the employee is specifically licensed and employed to do so.

(5)

(6) To assist local educational agencies in developing policies for pupil suicide prevention, the department shall develop and maintain a model policy in accordance with this section to serve as a guide for local educational agencies.
(b) For purposes of this section, “local educational agency” means a county office of education, school district, state special school, or charter school.

SEC. 3.

 Section 48900.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48900.5.
 (a) Suspension, including supervised suspension as described in Section 48911.1, shall be imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct. A school district may document the other means of correction used and place that documentation in the pupil’s record, which may be accessed pursuant to Section 49069. However, a pupil, including an individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, may be suspended, subject to Section 1415 of Title 20 of the United States Code, for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900 upon a first offense, if the principal or superintendent of schools determines that the pupil violated subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 48900 or that the pupil’s presence causes a danger to persons.
(b) Other means of correction include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) A conference between school personnel, the pupil’s parent or guardian, and the pupil.
(2) Referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, mental health professional, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel for case management and counseling.
(3) Study teams, guidance teams, resource panel teams, or other intervention-related teams that assess the behavior, and develop and implement individualized plans to address the behavior in partnership with the pupil and his or her parents.
(4) Referral for a comprehensive psychosocial or psychoeducational assessment, including for purposes of creating an individualized education program, or a plan adopted pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794(a)).
(5) Enrollment in a program for teaching prosocial behavior or anger management.
(6) Participation in a restorative justice program.
(7) A positive behavior support approach with tiered interventions that occur during the schoolday on campus.
(8) After-school programs that address specific behavioral issues or expose pupils to positive activities and behaviors, including, but not limited to, those operated in collaboration with local parent and community groups.
(9) Any of the alternatives described in Section 48900.6.

SEC. 4.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.