Legislative Update: School Fees, Layoff Notice, Bullying, and Student Discipline

KMTG will be issuing a series of updates, as part of our Legal Alerts, on new legislation signed by Governor Brown. All laws become effective January 1, 2013, unless otherwise stated. Below is a brief summary of AB 1575, AB 1908, AB 1732, and AB 1729.

AB 1575 prohibits public school students from being required to pay a fee for participation in an educational activity. The new law applies to all public schools, including charter and alternative schools. All supplies, materials, and equipment that a pupil needs to participate in educational activities must be provided free of charge. However, the new law provides that it should not be interpreted to prohibit a school from soliciting voluntary donations, voluntary participation in fundraising activities, or from providing prizes or recognition to students for voluntarily participating in fundraising activities.

AB 1908 extends the period of time in which notice must be given before a classified employee may be subject to layoff, amending Education Code section 45117 and section 8801. AB 1908 requires that a school district or community college district give a classified employee written notice of not less than 60 days before the layoff date if the termination date of any specially funded program is other than June 30. AB 1908 further provides that, if a layoff is the result of a bona fide reduction or elimination of the service being performed by any department, the school district or community college district must give classified employees subject to layoff for lack of work notice not less than 60 days prior to the effective date of layoff.

AB 1732 clarifies the definition of what constitutes bullying by means of an electronic act, and includes posting on a burn page or impersonating another student. Additionally, AB 1732 specifically provides that “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.”

AB 1729 gives school administrators more flexibility in disciplining students, including alternatives to suspension or expulsion that are age appropriate and aimed at correcting the specific behavior. Suspension for first time offenses is still allowed under Section 48900(a) through (e), without first attempting other means of correction. However, Section 48900.5 is amended to eliminate language that allows administrators to suspend students for first time offenses under Section 48900(f) through (r) based on a finding that the student causes a danger to persons or property or threatens to disrupt the instructional process. Section 48900.5 will now permit suspension for first time offenses under Section 48900(f) through (r) if “the pupil’s presence causes a danger to persons.”

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