Ty Pelfrey: Senate Bill 419: The willfully defiant classroom | TheUnion.com

Ty Pelfrey: Senate Bill 419: The willfully defiant classroom

Other Voices
Ty Pelfrey

Come July 2020, California Senate Bill No. 419 impacts a school near you.

Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will cheer when old school rules are shelved — disobeying adults is soon to be legal!

The governor inked SB 419 on Sept. 9, 2019 modifying California Education Code 48900(k).

The law is modified for five “trauma filled” experimental years of teen defiance.

Why only 5 years?

SB 419 removes a principal’s option to suspend sixth-eighth graders for violations of EC 48900(k) – “willful defiance.”

How many ways can a teen willfully defy an adult?

For non-educators here’s how kids could violate EC 48900(k) – at your house.

Thirty, seventh- and eighth-grade kids, dash into your living room for a 7-hour party — and you can’t send them home.

Teens jump on your couch, peruse your cabinets and hide your goldfish as screaming replaces talking.

Behaviors are mitigated with compassion, while you attempt to entertain. Finally the bus arrives.

You find your fish, remove dishes from the closet and wipe sneaker prints off your dining table.

You hear yourself mumble, “What will I do tomorrow?”

The next morning 30 kids saunter in — a fishing pole scrapes the ceiling. Empty Monster cans litter the yard. Ear buds are fully installed to ignore polite requests.

The noncompliant hoody clad contingent avoids eye contact.

You call parents — but your number is blocked.

The neighbor’s sixth-grade party has three kids swinging in a tree. A co-ed group lifted a manhole cover.

Revolutionary songs of adolescent anarchy echo in your dining room.

You hide couch cushions, scissors and flush your traumatized goldfish to safer waters.

Defiant tykes with shaved eyebrows show indifference to “how you feel.”

Kids chill on the kitchen counter as the dance party, in the bathroom, winds down.

Day two ends. The bus arrives and you’re exhausted — “willfully defied.”

California educators will know your pain come July.

Administrators won’t have a suspension option for willfully defiant teens.

Charter schools get no dispensation; they’re bound by SB 419 too.

Teacher’s can’t suspend kids from school, if you didn’t know.

Google California Education Code 48900 to see what’s not allowed. What would you allow?

If you don’t like SB 419 write your legislator or governor. You can’t be suspended for redress of grievances.

Imagine this reality: kids may legally defy a school principal, cook, teacher, counselor, custodian or superintendent and be immunized via SB 419 from being sent home via school suspension.

Kids learn fast. How bad will it get?

Are we training teenagers for the workplace in public school? Employers share your concerns.

What should a compliant student be forced to endure?

Write a letter to your school board outlining expectations.

Law abiding kids will challenge parent reasoning to truthfully answer: “Mom, Dad, Johnny drops the ‘F-bomb’ on the teacher, jumps on desks, has a 0.00 GPA and is being promoted — how?”

One “F-bomb” isn’t “habitual” profanity.

Californians spend around $12,000 annually per kid. Suspended kids don’t generate money. Huh?

Suspensions threaten funding and increase administrative job insecurity. Interesting.

Some argue a teen’s undeveloped pre-frontal cortex is to blame for noncompliance with “Please sit down” or “give me the goldfish.” Really?

Suspensions aren’t a synaptic fix — they’re a societal symptom — the canary in society’s school yard.

Restorative questers opposed to “Old School EC 48900(k) options” may repeal SB 419, when experimental money expires inside of five years.

The governor’s elected term is four years — odd.

Kids may overrun the school sooner.

Should a bullied kid be required to talk with their bully and sign a contract? Abused adults obtain restraining orders.

Teachers may use “California Education Code 48910” to send disruptive tykes elsewhere for two days – but not home.

Inform your child’s teacher of 48910 if you’re hearing stories about class disruptions.

Schools staff “intervention rooms” — previously named “suspension room” the name change retains school funding.

Kids need a safe place to get their head together, grab a nap, locate lost medication — or find food. Some kids run on desks yelling the “F-bomb,” for our attention.

Does your school fund an advanced placement class for mathematics and language arts?

In a perfect world every in-house intervention room would be staffed with a therapist, counselor, psychologist, probation officer, social worker, behaviorist and nurse to meet the immediate needs of defiant kids crying for help via fight, flight and freeze and come July — frivolity.

I’ve been teaching 32 years and look forward to the party come fall of 2020.

Ty Pelfrey lives in Penn Valley.


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