Schools start new year with new laws covering everything from suspensions to school safety

Julie Reichle

The gates in front of Havens Elementary are decorated with Back to School banners in August 2023.

Many new pieces of education legislation went into effect this year, including a bill that eliminates obsolete and offensive terms for students with disabilities in state law, and another piece of legislation that ensures students learn to write in cursive.

Here is some of the most important new legislation impacting school districts and students, according to School Services of California, an education consulting firm:

  • Assembly Bill 1503 allows students to be excused from school for a full day to attend a religious event instead of just four hours.
  • Senate Bill 10 requires school safety plans for secondary schools to include a protocol for responding to an opioid overdose.
  • Senate Bill 274 extends the prohibition against suspending students in sixth through 12th grades for willful defiance until July 1, 2029.
  • Senate Bill 348 authorizes, among other school-meal-related things, research to establish how much time students should be given to eat lunch.
  • Senate Bill 616 requires employees to be given up to five sick days a year.
  • Senate Bill 494 prohibits school boards from firing a superintendent or assistant superintendent without cause at a special or emergency meeting, instead of at a regular board meeting that requires the public be given 72-hours notice.
  • Assembly Bill 472 requires school districts and community colleges to pay classified employees any salary they lost as a result of being put on involuntary leave while being investigated for wrongdoing if there is a finding in their favor.
  • Assembly Bill 1722 allows school districts to hire a licensed vocational nurse if district officials can’t find a credentialed school nurse to fill the job. The licensed vocational nurse must be supervised by a credentialed nurse.

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