Following up on state requirements, La Cañada High School has updated its campus safety plan, according to a report given to the school board Tuesday by Assistant Principal Jarrett Gold.
The components of the plan, approved by the School Site Council in January, include assessment of the current status of the school or school-related crimes; child abuse reporting procedures; disaster procedure, routine and emergency; policies related to suspensions and expulsions; sexual harassment policy; provisions for safe ingress and egress to and from school; and hate crime reporting procedures, among other items.
Gold said one of the state mandates is to limit the reasons for suspension of students for disruptive or defiant behavior.
"This tends to be the go-to for a lot of schools for suspensions," Gold said. "If something goes wrong, and you can't find the education code that goes with it, a lot of schools just say 'it's disruptive/defiant to the school day.'"
To combat this scenario, alternatives to school suspension — such as conferences with school officials, psychologists or counselors — are being created. Other creative methods of correcting behavior are also being employed, Gold reported.
"A group of students last year made a sign last year that was derogatory to a specific race," he said. "Rather than suspend them, I made all the students go to the Museum of Tolerance, and bring back a ticket stub in addition to writing about what they did, and why it was wrong, and what they learned by going to the museum."
So far this school year there have been a few incidents involving LCHS students reported to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station, according to Gold. They included one possession of a dangerous object such as a gun, knife or explosive; three incidents of possessing or using drugs or alcohol; one case of someone selling a controlled or unlawful substance; one attempt to steal property and two reports of bullying.
The school board approved the LCHS plan. President Ellen Multari said all the district's schools have similarly updated their procedures through their respective site councils and that those plans have also been approved. They will be included in the annual School Accountability Report Card, which can be accessed on the La Cañada Unified website: www.lcusd.net.
MICHAEL BRUER is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.