Parents discuss Kern County's high rate of expulsions

Are we too quick to expel and suspend students in Kern County? Parents met to discuss the issue in Arvin on Saturday.

Are we too quick to expel and suspend students in Kern County? That's what a group of parents met to discuss in Arvin on Saturday.

In 2010, local schools had four times as many expulsions as the state average, according to a national study done by the Center for Public Integrity.

Parents want to know why, so they met to discuss the issue. The Kern Education Justice Collaborative organized the meeting. Many parents in attendance have kids who were either suspended or expelled.

Josefina Garcia said her daughter was expelled because she was allegedly smoking pot in the street. But, her mother said a drug test confirms her daughter did not take the drug. She said the school was too quick to punish.

"I want to ask and invite all the parents that are having issues like this in the high school to get together and address this issue," said Garcia through a translator.

When expelled, her daughter was sent to an alternative school, but it was too far for Garcia to drive. She transferred her daughter to Lamont.

Garcia's story is like many other parents' at the meeting. On Saturday, an attorney told the parents that their students have a right to a hearing for expulsions.

The group wants to make sure parents know their rights so they can defend their kids if necessary.

We were unable to reach the Kern High School District for comment.

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