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AB-740 Foster youth: suspension and expulsion.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/16/2021 09:00 PM
AB740:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 740


Introduced by Assembly Member McCarty

February 16, 2021


An act to amend Sections 48853.5, 48900, and 48900.5 of the Education Code, relating to foster youth.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 740, as introduced, McCarty. Foster youth: suspension and expulsion.
(1) Existing law requires each local educational agency, as defined, to designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children, as defined. If the education liasion is designated by the superintendent of the local educational agency, existing law requires the educational liaison to notify a foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency of pending expulsion proceedings if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, and pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act.
This bill would instead require the educational liaison, if designated by the superintendent of the local educational agency, to notify a foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency of suspensions or pending suspensions, involuntary school transfers, expulsion proceedings, and pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered. The bill would require the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency to have the same rights a parent or guardian of a child has to receive suspension and expulsion documents and related information, and to attend suspension and expulsion meetings and conferences. To the extent the bill would impose additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) 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 a specified act. Existing law requires suspension to only be imposed when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct, except that the suspension of a pupil for a first offense is authorized if the principal or superintendent of schools determines that the pupil violated one of a certain subset of those enumerated acts or that the pupil’s presence causes a danger to persons.
Before a foster child, as defined, may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion pursuant to these provisions, this bill would require the principal of the school, superintendent of the school district, or superintendent of schools, as applicable under these provisions, to give notice, as provided, to the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county welfare agency with jurisdiction over the child, and afford the attorney and county welfare agency representative the same rights a parent or guardian has for their child to receive suspension or expulsion documents and related information, and to attend suspension and expulsion meetings and conferences. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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.

 Section 48853.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48853.5.
 (a) This section applies to a foster child. “Foster child” means a child who has been removed from his or her the child’s home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her the child’s home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) The department, in consultation with the California Foster Youth Education Task Force, shall develop a standardized notice of the educational rights of foster children, as specified in Sections 48850 to this section, inclusive, and Sections 48911, 48915.5, 49069.5, 49076, 51225.1, and 51225.2. The notice shall include complaint process information, as applicable. The department shall make the notice available to educational liaisons for foster children for dissemination by posting the notice on its Internet Web site. internet website. Any version of this notice prepared for use by foster children shall also include, to the greatest extent practicable, the rights established pursuant to Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. In developing the notice that includes the rights in Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the department shall consult with the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson.
(c) Each local educational agency shall designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children. In a school district that operates a foster children services program pursuant to Chapter 11.3 (commencing with Section 42920) of Part 24 of Division 3, the educational liaison shall be affiliated with the local foster children services program. The educational liaison shall do both of the following:
(1) Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children.
(2) Assist foster children when transferring from one school to another school or from one school district to another school district in ensuring proper transfer of credits, records, and grades.
(d) (1) If so designated by the superintendent of the local educational agency, the educational liaison shall notify a foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency of pending expulsion proceedings if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered if the decision to recommend expulsion is a discretionary act, and, if all of the following:
(A) Suspensions or pending suspensions.
(B) Involuntary school transfers.
(C) Expulsion proceedings.
(D) Pending proceedings to extend a suspension until an expulsion decision is rendered.
(E) If the foster child is an individual with exceptional needs, pending manifestation determinations pursuant to Section 1415(k) of Title 20 of the United States Code if the local educational agency has proposed a change in placement due to an act for which the decision to recommend expulsion is at the discretion of the principal or the district superintendent of schools.
(2) This subdivision shall not be construed to limit the obligation of the principal or superintendent of the local educational agency to provide notice as required by law to any person, including, but not limited to, an educational rights holder.
(3) Notice required pursuant to this subdivision shall be provided within the same timeframe as is required to be provided to a child, parent, guardian, or an educational rights holder.
(4) A foster child’s attorney and an appropriate representative of the county child welfare agency with jurisdiction over a foster child shall have the same rights as a parent or guardian of a child has to suspension and expulsion documents and related information, and to attend suspension and expulsion meetings and conferences.
(e) This section does not grant authority to the educational liaison that supersedes the authority granted under state and federal law to a parent or legal guardian retaining educational rights, a responsible adult appointed by the court to represent the child pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a surrogate parent, or a foster parent exercising the authority granted under Section 56055. The role of the educational liaison is advisory with respect to placement decisions and determination of the school of origin.
(f) (1) At the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the local educational agency serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his or her the foster child’s education in the school of origin for the duration of the jurisdiction of the court.
(2) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated before the end of an academic year, the local educational agency shall allow a former foster child who is in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 8, inclusive, to continue his or her the former foster child’s education in the school of origin through the duration of the academic school year.
(3) (A) If the jurisdiction of the court is terminated while a foster child is in high school, the local educational agency shall allow the former foster child to continue his or her the former foster child’s education in the school of origin through graduation.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, a school district is not required to provide transportation to a former foster child who has an individualized education program that does not require transportation as a related service and who changes residence but remains in his or her the former foster child’s school of origin pursuant to this paragraph, unless the individualized education program team determines that transportation is a necessary related service.
(4) To ensure that the foster child has the benefit of matriculating with his or her the foster child’s peers in accordance with the established feeder patterns of school districts, if the foster child is transitioning between school grade levels, the local educational agency shall allow the foster child to continue in the school district of origin in the same attendance area, or, if the foster child is transitioning to a middle school or high school, and the school designated for matriculation is in another school district, to the school designated for matriculation in that school district.
(5) (A) Paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) do not require a school district to provide transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district, unless there is an agreement with a local child welfare agency that the school district assumes part or all of the transportation costs in accordance with Section 6312(c)(5) of Title 20 of the United States Code, or unless otherwise required under federal law. This paragraph does not prohibit a school district from, at its discretion, providing transportation services to allow a foster child to attend a school or school district.
(B) In accordance with Section 6312(c)(5) of Title 20 of the United States Code, local educational agencies shall collaborate with local child welfare agencies to develop and implement clear written procedures to address the transportation needs of foster youth to maintain them in their school of origin, when it is in the best interest of the foster youth.
(6) The educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, may recommend, in accordance with the foster child’s best interests, that the foster child’s right to attend the school of origin be waived and the foster child be enrolled in a public school that pupils living in the attendance area in which the foster child resides are eligible to attend.
(7) Before making a recommendation to move a foster child from his or her the foster child’s school of origin, the educational liaison shall provide the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child with a written explanation stating the basis for the recommendation and how the recommendation serves the foster child’s best interests.
(8) (A) If the educational liaison, in consultation with the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, agrees that the best interests of the foster child would best be served by his or her the foster child’s transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new school.
(B) The new school shall immediately enroll the foster child even if the foster child has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys due to the school last attended or is unable to produce clothing or records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, including, but not limited to, records or other proof of immunization history pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 120325) of Part 2 of Division 105 of the Health and Safety Code, proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms.
(C) Within two business days of the foster child’s request for enrollment, the educational liaison for the new school shall contact the school last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other records. The last school attended by the foster child shall provide all required records to the new school regardless of any outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys owed to the school last attended. The educational liaison for the school last attended shall provide all records to the new school within two business days of receiving the request.
(9) If a dispute arises regarding the request of a foster child to remain in the school of origin, the foster child has the right to remain in the school of origin pending resolution of the dispute. The dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the existing dispute resolution process available to a pupil served by the local educational agency.
(10) The local educational agency and the county placing agency are encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum use of available federal moneys, explore public-private partnerships, and access any other funding sources to promote the well-being of foster children through educational stability.
(11) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision shall not supersede or exceed other laws governing special education services for eligible foster children.
(g) For purposes of this section, “school of origin” means the school that the foster child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the foster child was last enrolled. If the school the foster child attended when permanently housed is different from the school in which the foster child was last enrolled, or if there is some other school that the foster child attended with which the foster child is connected and that the foster child attended within the immediately preceding 15 months, the educational liaison, in consultation with, and with the agreement of, the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, shall determine, in the best interests of the foster child, the school that shall be deemed the school of origin.
(h) This section does not supersede other law governing the educational placements in juvenile court schools, as described in Section 48645.1, by the juvenile court under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(i) (1) A complaint of noncompliance with the requirements of this section may be filed with the local educational agency under the Uniform Complaint Procedures set forth in Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.
(2) A complainant not satisfied with the decision of a local educational agency may appeal the decision to the department pursuant to Chapter 5.1 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and shall receive a written decision regarding the appeal within 60 days of the department’s receipt of the appeal.
(3) If a local educational agency finds merit in a complaint, or the Superintendent finds merit in an appeal, the local educational agency shall provide a remedy to the affected pupil.
(4) Information regarding the requirements of this section shall be included in the annual notification distributed to, among others, pupils, parents or guardians of pupils, employees, and other interested parties pursuant to Section 4622 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 2.

 Section 48900 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48900.
 A pupil shall not be 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 an act as defined pursuant to any of subdivisions (a) to (r), inclusive:
(a) (1) Caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause physical injury to another person.
(2) Willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense.
(b) Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of an object of this type, the pupil had obtained written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal.
(c) Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished, or been under the influence of, a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind.
(d) Unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind, and either sold, delivered, or otherwise furnished to a person another liquid, substance, or material and represented the liquid, substance, or material as a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant.
(e) Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion.
(f) Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property or private property.
(g) Stole or attempted to steal school property or private property.
(h) Possessed or used tobacco, or products containing tobacco or nicotine products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, miniature cigars, clove cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chew packets, and betel. However, this section does not prohibit the use or possession by a pupil of the pupil’s own prescription products.
(i) Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity.
(j) Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell drug paraphernalia, as defined in Section 11014.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
(k) (1) Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.
(2) Except as provided in Section 48910, a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 3, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts enumerated in paragraph (1), and those acts shall not constitute grounds for a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to be recommended for expulsion. This paragraph is inoperative on July 1, 2020.
(3) Except as provided in Section 48910, commencing July 1, 2020, a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 5, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts specified in paragraph (1), and those acts shall not constitute grounds for a pupil enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to be recommended for expulsion.
(4) Except as provided in Section 48910, commencing July 1, 2020, a pupil enrolled in any of grades 6 to 8, inclusive, shall not be suspended for any of the acts specified in paragraph (1). This paragraph is inoperative on July 1, 2025.
(l) Knowingly received stolen school property or private property.
(m) Possessed an imitation firearm. As used in this section, “imitation firearm” means a replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the replica is a firearm.
(n) Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault as defined in Section 261, 266c, 286, 287, 288, or 289 of, or former Section 288a of, the Penal Code or committed a sexual battery as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code.
(o) Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a pupil who is a complaining witness or a witness in a school disciplinary proceeding for purposes of either preventing that pupil from being a witness or retaliating against that pupil for being a witness, or both.
(p) Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell, or sold the prescription drug Soma.
(q) Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing. For purposes of this subdivision, “hazing” means a method of initiation or preinitiation into a pupil organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective pupil. For purposes of this subdivision, “hazing” does not include athletic events or school-sanctioned events.
(r) Engaged in an act of bullying. For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Section 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(A) Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil’s or those pupils’ person or property.
(B) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on the pupil’s physical or mental health.
(C) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil’s academic performance.
(D) Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with the pupil’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
(2) (A) “Electronic act” means the creation or transmission originated on or off the schoolsite, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(i) A message, text, sound, video, or image.
(ii) A post on a social network internet website, including, but not limited to:
(I) Posting to or creating a burn page. “Burn page” means an internet website created for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1).
(II) Creating a credible impersonation of another actual pupil for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “Credible impersonation” means to knowingly and without consent impersonate a pupil for the purpose of bullying the pupil and such that another pupil would reasonably believe, or has reasonably believed, that the pupil was or is the pupil who was impersonated.
(III) Creating a false profile for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). “False profile” means a profile of a fictitious pupil or a profile using the likeness or attributes of an actual pupil other than the pupil who created the false profile.
(iii) (I) An act of cyber sexual bullying.
(II) For purposes of this clause, “cyber sexual bullying” means the dissemination of, or the solicitation or incitement to disseminate, a photograph or other visual recording by a pupil to another pupil or to school personnel by means of an electronic act that has or can be reasonably predicted to have one or more of the effects described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of paragraph (1). A photograph or other visual recording, as described in this subclause, shall include the depiction of a nude, semi-nude, or sexually explicit photograph or other visual recording of a minor where the minor is identifiable from the photograph, visual recording, or other electronic act.
(III) For purposes of this clause, “cyber sexual bullying” does not include a depiction, portrayal, or image that has any serious literary, artistic, educational, political, or scientific value or that involves athletic events or school-sanctioned activities.
(B) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) and subparagraph (A), an electronic act shall not constitute pervasive conduct solely on the basis that it has been transmitted on the internet or is currently posted on the internet.
(3) “Reasonable pupil” means a pupil, including, but not limited to, a pupil with exceptional needs, who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of that age, or for a person of that age with the pupil’s exceptional needs.
(s) A pupil shall not be suspended or expelled for any of the acts enumerated in this section unless the act is related to a school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of the school district or principal or occurring within any other school district. A pupil may be suspended or expelled for acts that are enumerated in this section and related to a school activity or school attendance that occur at any time, including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(1) While on school grounds.
(2) While going to or coming from school.
(3) During the lunch period whether on or off the campus.
(4) During, or while going to or coming from, a school-sponsored activity.
(t) A pupil who aids or abets, as defined in Section 31 of the Penal Code, the infliction or attempted infliction of physical injury to another person may be subject to suspension, but not expulsion, pursuant to this section, except that a pupil who has been adjudged by a juvenile court to have committed, as an aider and abettor, a crime of physical violence in which the victim suffered great bodily injury or serious bodily injury shall be subject to discipline pursuant to subdivision (a).
(u) As used in this section, “school property” includes, but is not limited to, electronic files and databases.
(v) For a pupil subject to discipline under this section, a superintendent of the school district or principal is encouraged to provide alternatives to suspension or expulsion, using a research-based framework with strategies that improve behavioral and academic outcomes, that are age appropriate and designed to address and correct the pupil’s specific misbehavior as specified in Section 48900.5.
(w) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that alternatives to suspension or expulsion be imposed against a pupil who is truant, tardy, or otherwise absent from school activities.
(2) It is further the intent of the Legislature that the Multi-Tiered System of Supports, which includes restorative justice practices, trauma-informed practices, social and emotional learning, and schoolwide positive behavior interventions and support, may be used to help pupils gain critical social and emotional skills, receive support to help transform trauma-related responses, understand the impact of their actions, and develop meaningful methods for repairing harm to the school community.
(x) Before suspending or recommending for expulsion a foster child, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 48853.5, pursuant to this section, the superintendent of the school district or the principal of the school in which the foster child is enrolled shall give notice, pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5, to the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county welfare agency with jurisdiction over the foster child and shall afford rights, as described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5, to the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county welfare agency with jurisdiction over the foster child.

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 49069.7. 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, 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 the pupil’s 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.
(c) Before a foster child, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 48853.5, may be suspended, including supervised suspension as described in Section 48911.1, pursuant to this section, the principal or superintendent of schools shall give notice, pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5, to the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county welfare agency with jurisdiction over the foster child and shall afford rights, as described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5, to the foster child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county welfare agency with jurisdiction over the foster child.

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.