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May 12th, 2010
08:02 PM ET

Arizona bans ethnic studies – read the bill

Program Note: Last night, Arizona's governor signed a bill banning ethnic studies classes that "promote resentment" of other racial groups. Read the bill here. For a full report, watch AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Source: Azleg.gov

State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Forty-ninth Legislature

Second Regular Session

2010

HOUSE BILL 2281

AN ACT

AMENDING Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding sections 15-111 and 15-112; amending section 15‑843, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to school curriculum.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding sections 15-111 and 15-112, to read:

START_STATUTE15-111. Declaration of policy

The legislature finds and declares that public school pupils should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people. END_STATUTE

START_STATUTE15-112. Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement

A. A school district or charter school in this state shall not include in its program of instruction any courses or classes that include any of the following:

1. Promote the overthrow of the United States government.

2. Promote resentment toward a race or class of people.

3. Are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group.

4. Advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.

B. If the state board of education or the superintendent of public instruction determines that a school district or charter school is in violation of subsection A, the state board of education or the superintendent of public instruction shall notify the school district or charter school that it is in violation of subsection A. If the state board of education or the superintendent of public instruction determines that the school district or charter school has failed to comply with subsection A within sixty days after a notice has been issued pursuant to this subsection, The state board of education or the superintendent of public instruction may direct the department of education to withhold up to ten per cent of the monthly apportionment of state aid that would otherwise be due the school district or charter school. The department of education shall adjust the school district or charter school's apportionment accordingly. When the state board of education or the superintendent of public instruction determines that the school district or charter school is in compliance with subsection A, the department of education shall restore the full amount of state aid payments to the school district or charter school.

C. The department of education shall pay for all expenses of a hearing conducted pursuant to this section.

D. Actions taken under this section are subject to appeal pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10.

E. This section shall not be construed to restrict or prohibit:

1. Courses or classes for native American pupils that are required to comply with federal law.

2. The grouping of pupils according to academic performance, including capability in the English language, that may result in a disparate impact by ethnicity.

3. Courses or classes that include the history of any ethnic group and that are open to all students, unless the course or class violates subsection A.

4. Courses or classes that include the discussion of controversial aspects of history.

F. Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict or prohibit the instruction of the holocaust, any OTHER INSTANCE of genocide, or the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on ethnicity, race, or class. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2. Section 15-843, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE15-843. Pupil disciplinary proceedings

A. An action concerning discipline, suspension or expulsion of a pupil is not subject to title 38, chapter 3, article 3.1, except that the governing board of a school district shall post regular notice and shall take minutes of any hearing held by the governing board concerning the discipline, suspension or expulsion of a pupil.

B. The governing board of any school district, in consultation with the teachers and parents of the school district, shall prescribe rules for the discipline, suspension and expulsion of pupils. The rules shall be consistent with the constitutional rights of pupils and shall include at least the following:

1. Penalties for excessive pupil absenteeism pursuant to section 15‑803, including failure in a subject, failure to pass a grade, suspension or expulsion.

2. Procedures for the use of corporal punishment if allowed by the governing board.

3. Procedures for the reasonable use of physical force by certificated or classified personnel in self‑defense, defense of others and defense of property.

4. Procedures for dealing with pupils who have committed or who are believed to have committed a crime.

5. A notice and hearing procedure for cases concerning the suspension of a pupil for more than ten days.

6. Procedures and conditions for readmission of a pupil who has been expelled or suspended for more than ten days.

7. Procedures for appeal to the governing board of the suspension of a pupil for more than ten days, if the decision to suspend the pupil was not made by the governing board.

8. Procedures for appeal of the recommendation of the hearing officer or officers designated by the board as provided in subsection F of this section at the time the board considers the recommendation.

C. Penalties adopted pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 1 of this section for excessive absenteeism shall not be applied to pupils who have completed the course requirements and whose absence from school is due solely to illness, disease or accident as certified by a person who is licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 7, 13, 15 or 17.

D. The governing board shall:

1. Support and assist teachers in the implementation and enforcement of the rules prescribed pursuant to subsection B of this section.

2. Develop procedures allowing teachers and principals to recommend the suspension or expulsion of pupils.

3. Develop procedures allowing teachers and principals to temporarily remove disruptive pupils from a class.

4. Delegate to the principal the authority to remove a disruptive pupil from the classroom.

E. If a pupil withdraws from school after receiving notice of possible action concerning discipline, expulsion or suspension, the governing board may continue with the action after the withdrawal and may record the results of such action in the pupil's permanent file.

F. In all action concerning the expulsion of a pupil, the governing board of a school district shall:

1. Be notified of the intended action.

2. Either:

(a) Decide, in executive session, whether to hold a hearing or to designate one or more hearing officers to hold a hearing to hear the evidence, prepare a record and bring a recommendation to the board for action and whether the hearing shall be held in executive session.

(b) Provide by policy or vote at its annual organizational meeting that all hearings concerning the expulsion of a pupil conducted pursuant to this section will be conducted before a hearing officer selected from a list of hearing officers approved by the governing board.

3. Give written notice, at least five working days before the hearing by the governing board or the hearing officer or officers designated by the governing board, to all pupils subject to expulsion and their parents or guardians of the date, time and place of the hearing. If the governing board decides that the hearing is to be held in executive session, the written notice shall include a statement of the right of the parents or guardians or an emancipated pupil who is subject to expulsion to object to the governing board's decision to have the hearing held in executive session. Objections shall be made in writing to the governing board.

G. If a parent or guardian or an emancipated pupil who is subject to expulsion disagrees that the hearing should be held in executive session, it shall be held in an open meeting unless:

1. If only one pupil is subject to expulsion and disagreement exists between that pupil's parents or guardians, the governing board, after consultations with the pupil's parents or guardians or the emancipated pupil, shall decide in executive session whether the hearing will be in executive session.

2. If more than one pupil is subject to expulsion and disagreement exists between the parents or guardians of different pupils, separate hearings shall be held subject to this section.

H. This section does not prevent the pupil who is subject to expulsion or suspension, and the pupil's parents or guardians and legal counsel, from attending any executive session pertaining to the proposed disciplinary action, from having access to the minutes and testimony of the executive session or from recording the session at the parent's or guardian's expense.

I. In schools employing a superintendent or a principal, the authority to suspend a pupil from school is vested in the superintendent, principal or other school officials granted this power by the governing board of the school district.

J. In schools that do not have a superintendent or principal, a teacher may suspend a pupil from school.

K. In all cases of suspension, it shall be for good cause and shall be reported within five days to the governing board by the superintendent or the person imposing the suspension.

L. Rules pertaining to the discipline, suspension and expulsion of pupils shall not be based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry. If the department of education, the auditor general or the attorney general determines that a school district is substantially and deliberately not in compliance with this subsection and if the school district has failed to correct the deficiency within ninety days after receiving notice from the department of education, the superintendent of public instruction may withhold the monies the school district would otherwise be entitled to receive from the date of the determination of noncompliance until the department of education determines that the school district is in compliance with this subsection.

L. M. The principal of each school shall ensure that a copy of all rules pertaining to discipline, suspension and expulsion of pupils is distributed to the parents of each pupil at the time the pupil is enrolled in school.

M. N. The principal of each school shall ensure that all rules pertaining to the discipline, suspension and expulsion of pupils are communicated to students at the beginning of each school year, and to transfer students at the time of their enrollment in the school. END_STATUTE

Sec. 3. Effective date

This act is effective from and after December 31, 2010.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. aliou, FL

    When is bigotry going to stop in USA?

    May 12, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  2. lilian

    To me l think learning about ethnic is not good at all it really does not help students in school at all, because if you look back what happened in Rwanda in 1994 it all stared because of ethnic tribe and its still going on l really do support Arizon law thats what make people divide into groups when they are supposed to be one

    May 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  3. David Morrison

    Here is another white man in America telling people of color what they should and should not learn and then he says teaching ethnic studies is BACKWARDS!! Who the heck is he??? RACIST!!

    May 12, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
  4. E. Moore

    Banning ethnic studies will only promote more resentment. The very people who are banning ethnic studies are the people who feel that they are resented. Ethnic studies are about learning, and keeping one's cultural identity alive.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  5. Samuel

    As an administrator in the Tucson Unified School District this new law that has been signed prohibiting students from participating in courses relating to Ethnic studies is just one of the systemic discriminatory practices put into place by the Arizona Governor. I recently relocated to Arizona from the East coast and not only is Arizona 50th in funding for education but in academic performance as well. When you compare Arizona’s educational performance and proficiency to the rest of the nation, Arizona is light years away! Students in Arizona quite frankly are not equipped to compete with their same age peers. Rather than creating policies and practices to close the achievement gap, Arizona promotes systemic policies and procedures to prevent minority students for achieving academic success. I hope Arne Duncan and the Federal Government can step in and take a hard look at the state of education in Arizona for the sake of the students who are caught in the cross fire. A student participating in an ethnic studies course is the least of the educational concerns that plague the state of Arizona!!!!
    Dr. A

    May 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  6. Peta-de-Aztlan

    We should be rational and humane in our thinking. Ethnic studies can give us all a more complete understanding of history and other peoples. It seems as if the misleaders in Arizona are perpetuating more racism and division.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    I don't know if my reading of it is correct but what I get out of this is that AZ cannot target a ethnic group for studies just as them or teaching others to resent/hate them for being part of that group. If an ethnic studies course is to provide information about other cultures/ethnic groups;/etc and what is/was unique to them (like Christmas traditions or something else innocuous like that) then that doesn't seem to be outlawed. Our diversity can be a strong point in our country if we approach it correctly and not a detriment. Teaching students about different traditions should remove the mystery and/or fear of those groups so that each person's diversity can be valued. In the professional world we are taught to value diversity and I have seen how it helps and enriches – just because it isn't American doesn't make it bad. After all, what were we before we "became" American?

    May 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm |