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California Schools Release New Student Discipline Guidelines

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Tearsa Joy Hammock
Flickr / Creative Commons
A first grade teacher at San Francisco's Junipero Serra Elementary School with her students.

After more than a year of remote learning, California educators expect more student behavior challenges and difficulties from some students re-entering the classroom.

New discipline guidelines focus on addressing the underlying mental health challenges of students exhibiting disruptive behaviors, due to increased anxiety and depression.

California has been shifting away from suspensions and expulsions for several years, in favor of hiring more counselors and addressing the underlying cause of students' misbehavior. In 2019, California banned suspensions in elementary and middle schools for disrupting school activities or defying school authorities.

The state's new school discipline guidelines call for even more counseling and fewer suspensions. A department spokesperson said, "A focus on social-emotional learning is more important in addressing behavioral health."