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Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

CA Bill Would Block Suspensions, Expulsions for School Drug Use

A new assembly bill hopes to emphasis treatment and prevention over punishment for drug-related infractions
Assemblymember+James+Ramos+%28D-San+Bernardino%29+speaks+at+a+press+conference+for+AB2711.+Photo+from+Ramos+press+release.
Assemblymember James Ramos (D-San Bernardino) speaks at a press conference for AB2711. Photo from Ramos’ press release.

A proposed bill in the California State Assembly would require school districts across the state to adopt non-punitive, treatment-based responses to student drug use and possession before resorting to suspensions and expulsions.

AB2711, introduced by assemblymember James Ramos (D-San Bernardino), would require schools to “create policies using a public health approach, in lieu of suspensions and expulsions.” Possible alternatives to traditional punishment include increased education, additional training for school staff, and helping students access community health and treatment providers.

The measure, which has been returned to the committee level for additional review, aims to assist students developing substance addiction early as the abuse often continues or worsens when they become adults.

“[The bill] offers a new way of hope, a chance to break free from the cycle of punishment and embrace a compassionate approach,” Sacramento Youth Action board member Caleb Merill, who struggled with substance use as a teenager, said.

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