The Santa Barbara Unified School District introduced proposed disciplinary guidelines to its board Tuesday.
The district seeks to mend its high suspension rate and disproportionate exclusion by promoting “positive and preventative approaches, rather than consequences,” as presented by Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Dr. Frann Wageneck.
The district’s policy divides behaviors into four levels.
Type I behaviors include dress code violations, classroom disruption, profanity, unauthorized cell phone use and other minor violations. The district suggests interventions such as parent notification but does not permit suspension.
Type II infractions include threats of physical injury, possession of tobacco, vandalism, bullying and more. Principals may suspend students for these behaviors or recommend expulsion after reviewing alternatives and determining the student is a threat to others.
Type III encompasses behaviors such as causing serious injury, assault, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and extortion. Principals must suspend students committing type III offenses unless they are not a harm to others.
Type IV leads to immediate suspension and recommendation for expulsion. Behaviors in this highest rank include possession of a firearm, attempted sexual assault and brandishing a knife at another person.
Dr. Wageneck stressed supporting students and restorative practices. Under the proposed policies, staff must seek to understand students by asking “what’s going on” before making final judgments in type I-III.
To lay the foundation for these policies, the district created a work group of district employees who met over six months. Then it received input from stakeholders, such as students and teachers unions.
During a meeting with parents, administrators discussed shortcomings of existing policies.
The board will vote on the new guidelines during the Aug. 10 board meeting. Board members’ initial comments were positive.
Also upcoming is the COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year.
Dr. Wageneck stressed four focuses during Tuesday’s COVID-19 report: vaccination for all individuals, universal masking indoors, access to robust covid testing and contact tracing.
Board President Kate Ford asked Dr. Wageneck’s opinion on vaccination after the University of California’s vaccination mandate.
Dr. Wageneck expressed that while college education is voluntary, K-12 education is required.
To watch a replay of the meeting, go to youtube.com/watch?v=YQieJ-1t_hQ.