Key findings

  • Since the 1970’s, school suspensions and expulsions have been rising as part of a broader “zero tolerance” trend
  • Studies show that minorities often suffer disproportionately from these policies
  • A growing national reform movement is questioning the wisdom of harsh school punishments, and pushing alternatives
  • California’s Kern County is at the leading edge of the debate over where to draw the line in school discipline 
  • Kern County is home to just 3 percent of California students, but last year was responsible for 14 percent of state expulsions
  • School expulsion hearings have become complicated quasi-legal proceedings that  leave parents at a disadvantage
  • Students as young as grade schoolers are accused and expelled for infractions like sexual battery and obscenity