It is Now Illegal to Call Children “At Risk” in California

Feb 12, 2020 | Community

Tanu HenryCalifornia Black Media

A new law took effect Jan. 1, that now makes it illegal to label children “at risk” in California.

Assemblymember Reginald B. Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) authored AB 413, or the “At Promise” bill. It calls for the deletion of the term “at risk” from sections of the state’s Penal and Education codes.

He first introduced the bill in February 2019. The Senate approved an amended version of it last August and Gov. Newsom signed legislation into law two months later in October.

“You know how words matter. You know how we call our young kids — especially African American and Latino kids? We call them ‘at risk,’” Jones-Sawyer told California Black Media. “We automatically put them in the school-to-prison pipeline. Many of them, when labeled that, are not able to exceed above that.”

Jones-Sawyer continued, “We need to uplift our children.”

“At risk” will be replaced with the description “at promise” on all official state documents.

“If you see any magazine, educational document, or document from our criminal justice system that says, ‘at risk,’ it is illegal,” Jones-Sawyer pointed out.

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