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LA schools consider banning defiance suspensions

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Unified School District could become the first in California to ban suspensions of students who are willfully defiant.

The school board on Tuesday is scheduled to consider the ban, which is supported by the school superintendent.

Currently, students can be suspended for refusing to remove a hat or cursing the teacher.

The Los Angeles Times says willful defiance suspensions accounted for nearly half of all California suspensions in the 2011-2012 school year. Black students were disproportionately affected.

Critics say it's a catch-all way of getting rid of underachievers that hurts the student but does nothing to solve behavior issues.

Supporters say defiant kids disrupt classes and reduce learning time. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have barred suspensions for defiance.

4 YOUTHS HELD IN SKATEBOARD BEATING OF MAN: HUNTINGTON BEACH  (AP) — Southern California authorities say a man remains in critical condition after he was beaten nearly to death by skateboard-wielding attackers.

Huntington Beach police Lt. Mitchell O'Brien says the 25-year-old man suffered life-threatening head injuries during Friday night's attack and four teenagers could face attempted murder charges. All four are on probation for previous crimes.

O'Brien says the man and his girlfriend intervened in a fight between two groups at a crowded skate park.

The skateboarders then turned on the couple. O'Brien says the man was chased to a coin laundry across the street and beaten with skateboards.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BROILS IN SPRING HEAT WAVE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A spring heat wave is baking Southern California for a second day.

Temperatures around the region have topped 100 in some areas Monday and readings in the upper 90s are widespread elsewhere.

The National Weather Service says the heat is being spawned by an upper-level, high-pressure system.

Several record highs for the day were set on Sunday. Burbank hit 103 at its airport, breaking the old record of 100 set in 1976. Lancaster's 98 was a degree above the 1996 high. Riverside had 103, tying an 1893 record.

SURROGATE PARENT AGENCY OWNER SENTENCED FOR FRAUD: MODESTO  (AP) — The owner of a surrogate parenting agency was sentenced Monday to prison for a fraud scheme carried out through her Central California-based operation, a prosecutor said.

Tonya Ann Collins — the owner of Surrogenesis USA Inc. in Modesto — was sentenced to five years and three months in prison, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.

The sentencing came after Collins, 37, agreed to a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in February to four counts of wire fraud.

The government said Collins took money from prospective parents and used it for personal expenses, including automobiles, homes, jewelry, clothing and vacations, between November 2006 and March 2009.

Collins held client funds in another company she owned called Michal Charles Independent Financial Holding Group, which she said was an unrelated escrow company that would hold clients' money and pay expenses associated with the surrogacy process, authorities said.

Collins concealed her ownership and operation of the escrow company, prosecutors say, creating fictitious employee identities to make it appear that Michael Charles was an independent company with its own staff.

As a result, Collins' clients, surrogates and other businesses suffered losses of more than $2.4 million.