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I.    INTRODUCTION            Table of Contents Y


The Office of the General Counsel is please to provide this Help Manual as a service to school administrators and teachers.  It is intended to be a quick source of information about the laws and policies that govern issues that we believe you are likely to confront most often.  The manual is a primer for those who are new to the LAUSD or school law and as a quick reference for those who are inexperienced in the area. 

This Manual is not an encyclopedic reference for all the legal issue you may face during the course of your career or even during a school year. The field of education law is a wide range of subjects.  It is a constantly changing field in which Congress and state legislatures are continually enacting legislation to regulate the activities of public schools.

The Help Manual is designed, however, as a tool for school administrators, teachers and those affiliated with the education of students at LAUSD, remember it is not education law in its entirety.  Whenever in doubt contact our helpline at 866-68LAUSD.  Please check this site periodically to stay abreast of any changes.  We will make revisions and insert new sections every quarter. 

 

 

October 2003                                                  Office of the General Counsel
II.         REGISTERING STUDENTS

The California constitution guarantees a free public education to all children residing within the state. 

A.        ENROLLMENT Table of Contents Y

All children who reside within the boundaries of the Los Angeles Unified School District (“District”), including children who are not legally admitted into the United States, are entitled to a public education.  School personnel cannot deny enrollment to any child residing within the District’s boundaries.  The failure to enroll a child can result in a lawsuit against the District and possibly against the administrator denying the enrollment.  Under certain circumstances the failure to enroll a child is also a violation of state and federal civil rights statutes. 

Under California law, all students between the ages of six and eighteen years who are not exempt must attend full-time day school.  (Education Code Section 48200)[1]  The following exemptions apply:

·        Children attending private schools (Education Code Section 48222);

·        Children receiving instruction by a private tutor who possesses a valid state credential (Education Code Section 48224);

·        Children holding valid work permits to work temporarily in the entertainment industry (Education Code Section 48225);

·        Children enrolled in independent study programs (Education Code Section 51745).

·        Children who are receiving “home schooling.”

The District is not legally obligated to require enrollment.  The legal obligations to enroll children who are not exempted fall on the parents.  It is not the District’s responsibility to determine which children are or are not exempt.  The District’s responsibility is to enroll children residing within its boundaries whose parents request enrollment.

State law and District policy require that all children be enrolled in the school which is closest to their residence.  When the neighborhood school lacks the capacity to accept a child, then the parent may enrolled the child at a school which has capacity to accept him or her.  When necessary, the District can provide transportation to and from that school. 

The only circumstances for enrolling a student in a school outside the designated area are pursuant to an open enrollment permit, acceptance to a Magnet Program, and enrollment in a work site permit.  Administrators should take great care to ensure that admission decisions are justifiable under current District policies.

1.         Registration                Table of Contents Y

School personnel must enroll all children residing within a school’s attendance boundaries unless the school lacks capacity.  The enrollment process involves the registration of the student at the school site.  The Registration process includes:

·        Verifying the child’s age by reviewing the age-verification document provided by the parent or legal guardian;

·        Determining the child’s grade level;

·        Verifying that the student resides within the attendance boundaries of the school; and

·        Determining whether the child qualifies for special enrollment status, if applicable.

The general rule is that a child must attend a school in the area where his or her parent resides (“School of Residence”) (Education Code Section 48200).  If the parents are not living together, the parent with whom the child resides determines the School of Residence.  If the child does not reside with his or her parents, then the residency of the legal guardian or “care-giver” adult will determine the School of Residence.  A “Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit” form must be completed if the child is enrolled by an adult who is not a parent or legal guardian.  The “Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit” is valid only for one year.

As part of the registration process, school personnel must verify the student’s home address.  School personnel may do so by reviewing one of the following documents:

·        Utility payment receipts (excluding telephone bills);

·        Mortgage, lease, or rental agreements;

·        Property tax statements; and

·        Caregiver Authorization Affidavit.

If school personnel determine that a student has been enrolled the wrong school, then that student must be transferred to an appropriate school.  For further guidance on this issue, please contact the Attendance Office or the Office of the General Counsel, Field Services Team.

2.         Names Table of Contents Y

A parent or legal guardian may request registration of a child under a name that differs from that appearing in the documentary proof (e.g. a birth certificate) or existing school records. 

a.         Change of name by affidavit procedure

A natural parent or legal guardian may register a student under a different name from that appearing on the documentary proof of age (e.g. a birth certificate) or school records, by completing an “Affidavit for Change of Name of Minor” form.

b.         Legal change of name

When the name of a student is changed by court proceedings (e.g., by adoption or change of name proceedings), the new name is the name of the student for all future purposes, including, but not limited, to school registration.  A parent or legal guardian must provide a court order that changes the student’s legal before school records can be changed.[2]

When a student’s name is changed, either by affidavit, or by court order, the school may not delete the original name from its records.  Rather, the school may record and use the new name from the date of the change, forward and should cross-reference the former name with the new name in its files. 

(For example, Jane Doe has been a student at ABC Elementary School from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  During Jane’s 4th grade year, Jane’s mother presents the school with an adoption certificate, changing Jane’s last name to “Smith.”  At that point, the school may enter Jane’s new last name in its files and may refer to Jane as Jane Smith, in all future documents.  Jane Smith should be cross-referenced with Jane Doe in the school’s official records.  The school may not delete Jane Doe from its records, or change preexisting records from Doe to Smith.) 

3.         Emergency Cards Table of Contents Y

California law requires that a parent or guardian provide student emergency information to the school.  (Education Code Section 49408)  A school site administrator must have a student emergency card for each of his or her students.  The student emergency card must include the name, address and telephone number of a relative or friend who is authorized to care for the student in any emergency situation if the parent or guardian cannot be contacted within a reasonable time period.

The person named on the emergency card is authorized to remove the child from school only in an emergency.  In the event a relative or friend named on the emergency card wishes to remove a student from school, and an emergency situation does not exist, then school personnel must not release the student unless the parent or guardian has given prior authorization.  (Board Rule 1205)  The District, and possibly an administrator, could be held liable if a child is improperly released.   Refer to Section III.A. Family Law Issues of this manual for a more comprehensive discussion concerning access to students during school hours.

Student emergency cards are “pupil records ” that must be maintained in accordance with the law pertaining to the Privacy of Pupil Records.  (Education Code Section 49073 et seq.)  For a more detailed discussion regarding the maintenance and access to pupil records, refer to Section III. B. Student Records of this manual.

4.         Enrollment of Non-Documented Children                Table of Contents Y

Under current discrimination laws it is improper for school personnel to ask children or their parents to disclose or provide information regarding their immigration status.

5.         Education of Homeless Students Table of Contents Y

On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act into law.  This legislation reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act for homeless children and youth. This Act entitles all homeless school aged children to a free, appropriate public education. Accordingly, schools are required to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance and success in school.  Consequently, schools must ensure homeless students attend the school of origin, if feasible, when the student is displaced from his or her residence.

All Local Educational Agencies (LEA’s), that is school districts and country office of education must designate an appropriate staff person as a liaison for homeless children/youth.  Liaisons will be responsible for ensuring identification, enrollment, attendance, and success of students in homeless situations by linking students and their families to school and community services. For further information, please call Pupil Services or Office of the General Counsel Field Services.

B.        ATTENDANCE

School administrators have a legal obligation to create and maintain accurate attendance  records of students enrolled in their school.  The state of California appropriates funds to school districts based upon attendance  records.  The consequences to the District of failure to maintain accurate attendance  records could be considerable.

1.         Student Absences Table of Contents Y

Children between the ages of six and eighteen years are required to attend school on a full-time basis.  (Education Code Section 48200)[3]  When a student is absent for part or all of the day, the parent is required to provide, in person or by note, an explanation for the student’s absence.  A student’s absence from school is only excused when the absence is due to any of the following:

·        Student’s illness;

·        Quarantine;

·        Medical, dental, optometric, or chiropractic services;

·        Attendance of funeral services;

·        Participation in jury duty; and

·        Justifiable personal reasons, including, but not limited to, court appearances, or observance of a holiday or religious ceremony.

A student who is absent from school for three full days without a valid excuse is considered truant and must be reported to the school attendance review board in that local district.  (Education Code Section 48260).  Under Education Code Section 48260.5, if a student is classified as a truant, the school site administrator must provide written notification to the student’s parent or guardian regarding his or her child’s truancy.  The notification must state that:

·        The student is truant ;

·        The parent or guardian is obligated to compel the student’s attendance at school;

·        The parent or guardian who fails to meet this obligation may be subject to prosecution;

·        The parent or guardian has the right to meet with school personnel to discuss solutions to the student’s truancy;

·        The student may be subject to prosecution;

·        The student may be subject to suspension, restriction, or delay of the student’s driving privileges; and

·        A recommendation that the parent or guardian accompany the student to school and attend classes with the student for one day.

District policy and procedures regarding truancy may be found in Bulletin No.  Z – 54, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Elementary Schools  and Bulletin No. Z – 55, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Secondary Schools.

2.         Release of Students from School      Table of Contents Y

There may be liability on the part of the District and school personnel for lack of supervision if a student leaves the school site without permission and sustains injuries while off campus.  District policy precludes students from leaving school premises during the school day except in the case of an emergency or with prior authorization from  a parent, guardian or the school principal (Board Rule 2122.)  Refer to Section VIII. School Safety Procedures of the Help Manual for a more detailed discussion regarding the District’s liability with respect to the supervision of students.


III.             PROTECTING STUDENTS        Table of Contents Y


 

A.        FAMILY LAW ISSUES .

School Administrators are not expected to be family law experts.  They are expected, however, to be sufficiently familiar with the laws to understand who may make educational decisions regarding children, who may   have access to students, and who may have access to student records.  Often situations concerning educational and student access are emotional and highly charged.  Administrators should avoid becoming embroiled in the emotions surrounding these matters and should seek advice from the Office of General Counsel in situations where the proper course of action is not clear.  For guidance about access to children by representatives of governmental agencies and others see Section V. Interacting With Visitors And Government Agencies of this manual.

 

1.         Parental Rights /Custody Orders        Table of Contents Y

Under California law, the general rule is that both natural parents have equal rights to make decisions affecting the education of their children.  This is the case regardless of the mental status of the parents.  The general rule can be modified by agreement or by court order.  If one parent is challenging the right of another to have access to a child, or a child’s pupil records, the school should determine whether an agreement between the parties or a court order exists that sets forth the rights of the respective parents.  If the parent or guardians presents an agreement, the administrator should contact the other parent to confirm the contents of agreement.  If the other the other parent is not available or rejects the agreement then the situation should be handled as if the agreement does not exists. If there is a court order, the school should review it to determine if the court order has been signed by a judge (either by hand or with a court stamp) and has not expired.  See the chart below for descriptions of custody arrangements.

TYPE OF CUSTODY

PARENTS’ RIGHTS

Joint Legal Custody

Both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child.

Joint Physical Custody

Both parents share physical custody of the child.

Sole Legal Custody

One parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child.

Sole Physical Custody

The child resides with and is under the supervision of one parent.

                       

2.         Others Who Have “Parental Rights ”                Table of Contents Y

The court may grant parental rights to individuals who are not biological parents.  Legal guardians, adoptive parents and (for some purposes) court-appointed foster families may have parental rights. This is a very complicated area of the law with many potential pitfalls.   A principal or administrator who improperly releases students may be subject to personal liability.  Therefore, school site administrators should carefully scrutinize documentation and contact the Office of the General Counsel for assistance whenever there is any question whether an individual has parental rights with respect to a student. 

3.                  Parental Access During School Hours            Table of Contents Y

In general a student may be released to either or both of his or her biological parents even if the biological parents are separated, divorced, or were never married.  A court can limit the access of parents to students during school hours.  This is done by way of a court order. An administrator should not limit access to student unless he or she is presented with a copy of the court order.  A copy of a court order should be stapled to the student emergency card for future reference. 

If there is a court order limiting access, administrators should not release the child unless the administrator has verified the identity of the parent by way of photographic identification and reviewed court order to determine that the requesting parent or guardian has a right to custody.  If a parent claims a change in the custody arrangement, then he or she must provide a court order that specifically describes the changes.  In a situation where a non-custodial  parent seeks the release of a child from school and the custodial parent has not authorized the release; the Principal or other administrator should take the following steps:

·        Explain to the non-custodial parent that you are unable to release the child;

·        Contact the parent or guardian with physical custody to seek permission for the release of the child; and

·        Retain the child at the school.

You should not inform the non-custodial parent of the child’s whereabouts.  If the non-custodial  parent becomes uncooperative or abusive, immediately contact School Police or, if necessary, local law enforcement.

B.                 STUDENT  RECORDS  

1.         General                Table of Contents Y

State and federal laws protect the privacy of students and require the District to keep most student documents confidential.  Principals or administrators should operate under the assumption that student records  cannot be released to outside requestors unless they are certain that release is authorized.  (Exceptions to this are listed in Section 3, below.)  A principal or administrator who improperly releases student records  may be subject to personal liability.

A “pupil record” is any item of information directly related to a pupil, other than directory information, which is maintained by the school, the District, or required to be maintained by an employee in the performance of his or her duties, whether recorded by handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm or other means.  The rules regarding student health records are more stringent than those concerning other student records . Student Health records must be kept separate from other student records . Special handling procedures are discussed below.

Pupil records do not include informal notes compiled by a school officer or employee that remain in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute teacher.

Parents have an absolute right to review and obtain copies of their child’s records. For the purposes of access to student records, a “parent” is defined as a natural parent, an adoptive parent, or a legal guardian. A step parent who has not adopted the child does not qualify as a parent or guardian.    Students who are over the age of 18 or who are emancipated by court order have the same rights as parents.  Copies of requested records must be given within five school days after they are requested.  Unless authorized by statute, judicial order, or parental consent, the District is generally not authorized to permit any third parties to have access to pupil records (Exceptions to this general rule are listed in Section 3, below.)

The District may grant access to pupil records  to any individual if a parent has executed and delivered to the District a written consent that specifies the records to be released and identifies the third party to whom the records are to be released.  If a principal or an administrator releases records to a third party, he/she must notify the third party that the disclosure to others of the information in the records without written consent of the parent is prohibited by statute.

District policy regarding privacy of student records is currently being revised and will be available on the Office of General Counsel Web Site as soon as it is completed.

2.         Transfer of Permanent Records                Table of Contents Y

When a pupil transfers to another school district or to a private school, the pupil=s permanent record or a copy of that record must be transferred to the new school district or private school.  The District does not have the discretion to refuse or delay the transfer of the pupil’s records to the new school district or school for any reason.  The District may not delay a pupil=s records to another school district because the pupil or the pupil=s parents owe fees or monies to the District, the pupil has cut, defaced, or damaged District property, or the pupil failed to return a book.

3.         Access to Pupil Records                    Table of Contents Y

California Education Code § 49069 provides that parents of currently enrolled or former pupils have an absolute right to access the pupil records  of their children.  A school may not edit or withhold pupil records, except as specifically provided by law.  Once the parent has requested records, the school must provide the parent access (i.e., the right to inspect and review) to the records within five schooldays. 

The right to access student records  is afforded to both custodial and non-custodial parents.  On the other hand, only a parent having legal custody may challenge the content of a pupil record, offer a written response to a record, or consent to the release of records to others.  However, either parent may grant consent to the release of the child’s student record if both parents have notified the school or the District, in writing that an agreement was made giving the parent without legal custody the right to grant such consent.

Both parents, regardless of the custody arrangements, may participate in parent-teacher conferences and attend other meetings that may have an impact on the student’s life, even if the meetings occur on days when the parent does not have physical custody of the child. 

Access to pupil records may be granted to any person for whom a parent of the pupil has executed written consent.  (Education Code § 49075)  A school district is not authorized to permit access to pupil records to any person without written parental consent or a judicial order except as provided in state and federal law.  Some of the exceptions permit the District to give the access to student records  to:

·        School officials and District employees, including Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) members;

·        A student 16 years of age or older, or who has completed the 10th grade, who requests access

·        A District attorney in connection with a truancy mediation program;

·        A probation officer or District Attorney for purposes of conducting a criminal investigation, or an investigation for the purpose of declaring a person a ward of the court;

·        Law Enforcement in connection with an abduction case;

·        A school district where a student intends to enroll;

·        Foster family agencies that have jurisdiction over currently enrolled or former pupils; and

·        Military Recruiters.

For a more detailed discussion of access to pupil records , refer to Bulletin No. N-13, Pupil Records or contact the Office of the General Counsel. 

C.        CHILD ABUSE Table of Contents Y

1.         Child Abuse Reporting Requirements            Table of Contents Y

The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (“Act”) mandates the reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect.  District policy mandates that all employees of the District must report suspected child abuse or neglect.

For purposes of this Act, a “child” is defined as any person under the age of 18.  “Child abuse” refers to a physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child by another person.  “Child abuse or neglect” includes sexual abuse, willful cruelty, and unlawful corporal punishment.  If a District employee has knowledge of, or observes a child whom he or she knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect, the employee must:

·        Follow the detailed procedures contained in District Bulletin No. 10, Child Abuse Reporting,

·        Immediately telephone the appropriate law enforcement or child protective agency; (i.e., local police or sheriff’s department or Department of Children and Family Services, (DCFS))

·        Prepare and send a written report to the appropriate law enforcement agency or DCFS  within 36 hours of receiving information about the child; and

·        Forward copies of the report to the Local Superintendent (or his/her designee) and to the Child Abuse Prevention Office, which is part of the office of General Counsel.

Any questions regarding the reporting of child abuse and neglect should be directed to the Child Abuse Prevention Office.

2.         Interviews Regarding Child Abuse  at School by Outside Agencies         Table of Contents Y

A representative of a government agency, such as the Department of Children and Family Services or a law enforcement agency, may interview a student during school hours on school premises if the student is a victim of suspected child abuse or neglect.  School administrators should follow the procedures set forth below when a representative of a government agency requests to interview a student suspected to be a victim of child abuse:

·        The government agency’s representative must provide the principal or principal’s designee with appropriate identification credentials, and must state the reason for the interview;

·        If the representative confirms the interview concerning a child abuse or neglect investigation, then the principal or principal’s designee may allow the interview to take place.  If this is not the reason for the interview, other procedures may apply.  See Section V. A. Local Law Enforcement  of this Manual.

·        Prior to the commencement of the interview, the government agency representative must give the student the option of being interviewed privately or of selecting any adult member of the school staff to be present during the interview.  The staff member should not ask questions during the interview and is legally required to maintain the confidentiality of all information disclosed during the interview.  Accordingly, that information may not be shared with the child’s parents.

D.        PROTECTIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS   

The law provides comprehensive protections for students with special needs.  Failure to comply with applicable law could subject the District and District employees to liability.

1.         Section 504 Table of Contents Y

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights statute that provides that school districts that receive federal financial assistance must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities.  In addition to the prohibition against discrimination, Section 504 requires school districts to make reasonable accommodations for disabled students, within the general education program.

Under the United States Department of Education Regulation 34 Code of Federal Regulations 104.3 (j), an “individual with a disability” is defined as any person who has:

·        a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life    activities;

·        has a record of such an impairment; or

·        is regarded as having such impairment.

An administrator who believes that a student has a disability covered by Section 504 must have the student evaluated.  An evaluation referral can be made by a District employee, parent, guardian, or by a person authorized by statute. 

Detailed information regarding the identification, evaluation and provision of accommodations for students who may qualify under Section 504  are contained in Bulletin No. L-6, Procedures for Serving Students with Disabilities Under Section 504.  Additional assistance is available through the Education Equity Compliance Office

2.         Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA)      Table of Contents Y

In 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children, an amendment to Section 504.  This Act is now referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA .  IDEA established certain categories for special education eligibility for students whose disabilities are different from those who qualify for accommodations under Section 504.   Students who qualify for reasonable accommodation under Section 504 may not qualify for special education services under IDEA.

Under IDEA , a school district must provide eligible students with a free appropriate public education; is also called “FAPE.”  FAPE is generally defined as special education and related services that are provided at public expense and without charge, meet appropriate standards, and conform to the student’s Individual Education Program. Special education services must be provided in the least restrictive environment, all of which is described in the Code of Federal Regulations.  This means that to the maximum extent appropriate, all students with disabilities should be educated with students who are not disabled.

a.         Duty to Identify and Assess

The District has an affirmative obligation to identify students with disabilities who reside within the District’s attendance  area.  All students under 22 years of age with suspected disabilities must be assessed.

An assessment may be requested by the parent or school staff.  Parents should submit an assessment request in writing.  When a verbal request is made, the school staff should assist the parent in making the request in writing.  If a parent requests an assessment of his or her child, the District must develop an assessment plan within 15 days of the request.  Parental consent is required before the completion of an assessment, unless (1) the District prevails in a formal administrative hearing, called the “due process hearing,” when a parent refuses to consent to an assessment of the child and (2) the District can establish that it has taken reasonable steps to obtain parental consent.  The District may initiate due process procedures.

The assessment plan must be in the primary language of the parent, if feasible.  The plan must explain the types of assessments to be conducted on the child.

b.         IEP Process

If an assessment reveals that a student has a specific learning disability which makes him or her eligible for special education and related services, an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) team meeting must be convened to develop an IEP for the student.  A parent is entitled to attend the IEP meeting, and may invite the following individuals to participate in his or her child’s IEP team meeting:

·        A parent representative; or

·        Any other individuals, at the parent’s discretion, who possess expertise or knowledge necessary for the development of their child’s IEP.

Parents and the District may electronically record the proceedings of the IEP team meetings on an audio tape recorder.  The parent must notify the IEP team members of his or her intent to record a meeting at least 24 hours before the meeting.  If the District wants to tape record the IEP meeting it must notify the parent in the IEP notice and, if the parent objects to the tape recording, the IEP team meeting must not be recorded.

The District must ensure that one or both of the parents are present at each IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate.  If neither parent can attend the IEP team meeting, the District must use other methods to ensure parent participation, such as, scheduling a telephonic conference.  An IEP team meeting, however, may be conducted without parent participation if the parents refuse to attend.

Questions regarding the IEP process should be directed to your local district Special Education Coordinator, the Division of Special Education for your local district, or the Office of the General Counsel.

For a more detailed discussion regarding LAUSD special education policies and procedures, refer to the following website: http://dse-web.lausd.k12.ca.us.

E.         DISCRIMINATION Table of Contents Y

The District prohibits unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability (See Memorandum NO. L-2 Required Nondiscrimination Notices, June 26, 2002). An individual may discuss his or her discrimination complaint with the school’s Title IX Complaint Manager, or a school counselor, teacher or administrator in order to resolve his or her complaint without delay. Complainants should be encouraged, where possible, to try to resolve their complaints directly at the school or work site or in their local district office.

An individual may use the Uniform Complaint Procedures to file formal discrimination or harassment complaints with the District or to appeal District investigative findings and determinations. (See Memorandum NO. BP-9, Uniform Complaint Procedures, October 14, 2002).

Information about the Uniform Complaint  Procedures  must be disseminated annually to staff, students, parents and school-community groups. Uniform complaint forms should be available at all school sites in the primary language of that school community.

Under the Uniform Complaint Procedures, a written complaint must be filed no later than six months from the date that the reported incident occurred. The formal investigation of a complaint shall be completed within 60 days of receipt.

Individuals who use the Uniform Complaint  Procedures  should be advised and assured that confidentiality of the facts will be observed to the maximum extent possible and that the District prohibits retaliation against anyone who files a complaint or anyone who participates in the complaint investigation process.

 

F.      PEER TO PEER SEXUAL HARASSMENT            Table of Contents Y

Student-to- Student, Adult-to-Student, Student-to-Adult Sexual Harassment

When a direct complaint or indirect report of student-to-student, adult-to-student or student-to-adult sexual harassment  is received it should be given immediate attention and the following action should be taken:

ü      Take the steps to ensure that alleged harassing behavior does not continue.

ü      Interview and counsel the victim and request a factual written statement of the incident (Oral complaints must also be addressed).

ü      Interview witnesses, if any.

ü      Interview the alleged perpetrator(s).

 

If sexual harassment  is suspected, provide all parties and parents with copies of the District Sexual Harassment Policy (Bulletin No L-5 August 15, 2001) and, where appropriate Students may be provided the District’s Sexual Harassment; Student Know Your Rights brochures where appropriate. Administration should also take the following actions:

    1. Inform all parities of the informal and formal process options available to resolve the situation (Bulletin No L-5 August 15, 2001).

    2. Inform all parties of District policy regarding confidentiality and non-retaliation (Bulletin No L-5 August 15, 2001).

    3. Advise the victim and alleged perpetrator that they will be immediately contacted when the investigation is finished to notify them of the results.

    4. Use the Complaint Record: Student Sexual Harassment (Rev. 8/01) to document your steps. (Bulletin No L-5 August 15, 2001) The Complaint Record can also be used in cases of inappropriate behavior or no findings. Send a copy to Educational Equity Compliance.

    5. Inform parents (Use caution in cases of sexual orientation harassment). Contact Educational Equity Compliance for a Sample Informal Response to Parents.

    6. Send a report to the appropriate child protective agency or the police should be made before your investigation begins in these cases.  As some physical sexual harassment incidents may violate the penal code.

    7. Take adequate measures to ensure that the victim will not be harassed again. Provide the student-victim with a “safe path” back to you or a designee in case the harassing behavior resumes.

    8. Plan to check back with the student-victim later in the day or during the next few days to be sure the harassing behavior has stopped.

    9. Contact Educational Equity Compliance (213) 241-7682 for further assistance.

 

Sexual Orientation Harassment

Follow all of the steps described in above. However, before informing parents, consult with the student-victim to determine a safe way to alert parents of the incident.

Adult-to-Student Sexual Harassment

In addition to the steps above, if adult-to-student sexual harassment  is suspected:

  1. Make a report to the appropriate child protective agency if you reasonably suspect child abuse has occurred. Not all incidents of adult-to-student sexual harassment are necessarily incidents of child abuse. If you need clarification on Child Abuse reporting procedure, call the L.A.U.S.D. Child Abuse Hotline (213) 253 2000. Child Abuse reporting procedures, sexual harassment policies and procedures and disciplinary policies must operate in a coordinated manner. See Reference Guide NO. L-2, Coordination of District Child Abuse Reporting Procedures and Sexual Harassment policy January 31, 2003.

  2. Contact Educational Equity Compliance (213) 241 7682 for a Sample Conference Memorandum (Adult-to-Student Sexual Harassment).

Contact Staff Relations immediately if you believe employee disciplinary action is possible.


IV.             DISCIPLINING STUDENTS Table of Contents Y


Every pupil in the Los Angeles Unified School District is expected to meet minimum standards of conduct.  These include obedience of federal state and local laws as well as adherence to District rules and regulations.  When students disobey the law or run afoul of District rules and regulations, they may be subject to discipline.  In effecting discipline, teachers and administrators must recognize that students and their parent’s have certain legal rights and are entitled to certain procedural safeguards.

The responsibility for student discipline lies with teachers and administrators.   Parents or guardians are required to be notified at the beginning of each school year of school discipline rules, student rights and the responsibilities relating to student conduct. 

District Policy embraces the concept of progressive discipline.  Accordingly, to the extent possible, school administrators should generally refrain from issuing formal discipline (e.g., suspension, opportunity transfer, and expulsion ) as a first response to student misconduct, and should develop early behavioral intervention strategies.  Formal methods of discipline should be used after alternative means of discipline have not had the desired effect.

The following sections provide a brief overview of state law and District policies concerning student discipline.  Failure to follow these procedures could result in the invalidation of disciplinary measures and subject a teacher or administrator to disciplinary action and legal liability.  Proper documentation is essential to the concept of progressive discipline.  Teachers and administrators must insure that all documentation involving a disciplinary matter is completed accurately and expeditiously.

A.        SUSPENSION Table of Contents Y

A suspension is a brief removal of a pupil from ongoing instruction for behavioral adjustment purposes. 

1.         Suspension from Class        Table of Contents Y

A student may be suspended from one or more classes.  A student suspended from all of his or her classes may remain in school during the period of suspension provided he or she is appropriately supervised. 

A teacher who suspends a student from his or her class must immediately report the suspension to the principal (or the principal’s designee) and send the student to the office.  The student may only be kept out of class for the balance of the day and for the following day.  A teacher-initiated suspension is only applicable to the class in which the student has engaged in misconduct.

During the period of suspension, a student may not be returned to the class from which he or she was suspended without the concurrence of the principal as the teacher who imposed the suspension.  The suspended student cannot be placed in another regular class during the period of suspension.  If the student is assigned to more than one class per day, the student may attend the classes from which he or she is not suspended.

A teacher may require the student to complete all tests and assignments the student missed during the period of suspension.

2.         Suspension from School            Table of Contents Y

The principal or principal’s designee may suspend a student from school for no more than five consecutive school days.

When suspension from school is imposed, the principal or principal’s designee must conduct an informal conference with the student to notify him or her of the reasons for suspension, and must give the student the opportunity to explain his or her actions.  The principal must make a reasonable effort to inform the parent or guardian immediately of the suspension.  The school must also notify the parent or guardian in writing of the suspension, and advise the parent or guardian of the student’s right to appeal.

Unless the principal determines that the suspended student constitutes a clear and present danger to the lives, safety  or health of students or school personnel , a pre-suspension conference must be held with the student.  That conference should also include the student’s parents, if possible, to discuss the suspension.  The conference should take place before the suspension is imposed, if possible.  However, if a pre-suspension conference is not possible, suspension may be imposed without a conference.  The student is required to return to school at the conclusion of the suspension, even if the parent has failed to attend the conference.

A student may not be suspended for more than 20 school days within the school year.  If the student transfers to another school during the school year, the student can be suspended for a period of 30 school days within the school year.

If the student is suspended for any of the offenses listed below, the principal or the principal’s designee must notify the school police or local law enforcement authority:

·        Suspected unlawful possession, use or distribution of drugs or alcohol;

·        assault with a deadly weapon;

·        possession or sale of narcotics  or controlled substances;

·        possession of a firearm; or

·        possession of a dirk, dagger, ice pick, knife, razor, taser or stun gun, BB or pellet or other type of air gun.

These may also be grounds for expulsionSee Section IV. C. Expulsion.  The school administrator must complete a Crime Reporting Form for certain incidents of student misconduct involving a crime.

B.        OPPORTUNITY TRANSFERS         Table of Contents Y

An opportunity transfer is a removal and transfer of a student from one District school to another.  Voluntary (parent-initiated) opportunity transfers typically result in permanent transfers.  Involuntary opportunity transfers (for discipline) should be temporary.

Voluntary opportunity transfers are usually initiated by the parent or guardian and may result in a permanent transfer.  On the other hand, involuntary opportunity transfers are initiated by the school when the school administrator determines that a change in environment will improve the student’s behavior.  An involuntary opportunity transfer may not be used to address the following:

·        truancy or other attendance  related issues;

·        low academic achievement;

·        tardiness; or

·        discipline of  a victim of a fight.

At the elementary school level, a student can receive only one opportunity transfer, whether voluntary or involuntary.  However, a student can receive two involuntary transfers at both the middle and high school levels.  Students have the right to appeal an involuntary opportunity transfer.  The appeal process is outlined in Bulletin Z-58.

A transferred student may return to the original school if he or she fully complies with the terms of the transfer.  A school administrator must negotiate the terms of the opportunity transfer with the parent or guardian, the student and receiving school administrator before the transfer is effective.  The school administrator who issues the opportunity transfer is accountable for the student’s attendance until the student has enrolled in the receiving school.

A student who has committed an offense requiring mandatory expulsion cannot receive an opportunity transfer.  (See Expulsion Section below.) 

For special education students, an opportunity transfer is considered a “change of placement” and can be issued only through the IEP process.

A 504 student may not be involuntarily transferred if the misconduct is a manifestation of his or her disability.  Prior to issuing an involuntary opportunity transfer for students who have Section 504  accommodation plans, the school must determine whether the student’s misconduct is a manifestation of his or her disability.

C.        EXPULSION            Table of Contents Y

Expulsion is a formal removal from a school district for a legally prescribed period of time.  School Administrators can recommend expulsion of a student.  However, only the Board of Education may expel a student.

A principal may recommend expulsion for misconduct related to school activity if the misconduct occurs at certain places and times. The places and times include, but are not limited to:

·        while on school grounds;

·        while going to or coming from school;

·        during the lunch period (whether on or off campus); or

·        during, or while going to or coming from a school sponsored activity.

Expulsion must be recommended for the following offenses:

·        possession, selling, or otherwise furnishing a firearm;

·        brandishing a knife at another person;

·        unlawful possession  of a narcotics or controlled substance;

·        committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault, or committing a sexual battery;

·        possession of an explosive;

·        robbery or extortion;

·        causing serious physical injury  to another person except in self defense; or

·        assault and battery.

Expulsion is not mandatory for other offenses.  A student may not be expelled for truancy, tardiness, or being absent from school activities.  Every student recommended for expulsion has a right to an expulsion  hearing.  The school administrator is responsible for presenting the case against the student and for providing witnesses, as well as documentary evidence.  The Board then decides whether the expulsion is appropriate.

A student who is recommended for expulsion  by the school, but who is not expelled by the Board, should be returned to the referring school, unless there is “good cause” why the student should not return.

The Board may suspend the enforcement of an expulsion and may also assign an expelled student to an appropriate alternative school program.

Expelled students receiving special education services, English Language Learner (“ELL”) services, and elementary students must be assigned to appropriate education placements and in some cases, may be assigned to regular schools. 

Students who have successfully served their expulsion  under “suspended enforcement” have the right to return to the school that referred the student for expulsion .

Detailed information regarding school-site expulsion  procedures, District practice and policy, is contained in Bulletin No. P-61, Guidelines to Student Expulsion.

D.        DISCIPLINE OF INDIVIDUALS WITH EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS Table of Contents Y

The grounds for disciplining general education students are equally applicable to students with section 504 plans and special education students.  However, there are certain guidelines and limitations that are applicable only to the disciplining of students with special needs.

1.         Section 504 Students            Table of Contents Y

a.         Suspension

A Section 504 student may be suspended in the same manner and for the same reasons as any other general education student except in the limited case where the student’s misconduct is a manifestation of the student’s disability. 

b.         Opportunity Transfer

Prior to the issuance of an involuntary opportunity transfer to a Section 504 student, the referring school must determine whether the student’s misconduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability or health condition.  ( See Section IV. B. Opportunity Transfer Section of this Manual).

c.         Expulsion

Prior to recommending expulsion for a Section 504 student, the school administrator must convene a Section 504 Review Committee to determine whether the student’s misconduct was a manifestation of his or her disability.  If the misconduct was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, the student may be recommended for expulsion.  If it is determined that the misconduct was a manifestation of the disability, the student may not be expelled.  In this circumstance, the 504 Plan should be amended to address the student’s behavior. 

2.         Students Receiving Special Education Services                Table of Contents Y

a.         Suspension

A student who receives special education services may be suspended when other means of discipline have failed to bring about proper conduct. A student may serve multiple suspensions for separate offenses that accumulate to more than ten school days, so long as no single suspension exceeds ten school days unless a court order stipulates otherwise.  For all days of suspension in excess of ten within a school year, the student must have a revised IEP, and must receive the appropriate educational services. 

b.         Opportunity Transfer

Prior to issuing an involuntary opportunity transfer for a special education student, an IEP must be conducted to determine:

·        Whether the misconduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability; and

·        Whether the student was appropriately placed and receiving the appropriate services at the time of the misconduct.

In addition to the appeal rights afforded to general education students, special education students may utilize the appeal procedures prescribed by IDEA.

c.         Expulsion

A pre-expulsion IEP meeting must be conducted prior to recommending expulsion .  The IEP meeting must determine:

·        Whether the student’s misconduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability;

·        Whether the student was appropriately placed and was receiving the appropriate services at the time of the misconduct; and

·        Whether behavior intervention strategies were in effect and consistent with the student’s IEP and placement.

A student receiving special education services may not be expelled if it is determined that the misconduct was a manifestation of the student’s disability, that the student was not appropriately placed, or that the pre-existing IEP did not include appropriate behavior goals or intervention strategies.

If it is determined that the student’s misconduct was not a manifestation of his or her disability and that the student was appropriately placed, and that the IEP set forth the necessary behavior goals or interventions, the student may be expelled.

During the expulsion process, the student has the right to remain at the referring school unless:

·        The parent consents to an alternate placement;

·        The school board has voted to expel;

·        The student is placed in a 45-day interim placement (see below); or

·        A hearing officer has determined that the current placement is likely to result in injury to the student, or to others.

The school administrator may place a special education student in an alternative educational placement, without parental consent, for up to 45 calendar days, if the student:

·        Brought a weapon to school or to a school activity;

·        Knowingly possessed or solicited the sale of drugs; or

·        Committed a sexual assault  or sexual battery.

In the event a student files a due process appeal, the expulsion process will cease until the appeal has been resolved.


V.              INTERACTING WITH VISITORS AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES            Table of Contents Y


The District is responsible for protecting students and monitoring outside visitors during school hours.  All campus visitors must have the consent and approval of the principal or principal’s designee to enter school grounds.  Visitors may not interfere, disrupt or cause substantial disorder in any classroom or school activity.

When representatives of various governmental agencies visit school campuses for purposes unrelated to normal school operations, the principal must immediately ascertain the purpose of the representative’s presence on campus. 

A.        LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT Table of Contents Y 

Generally, a peace officer  is permitted to interview a student at school if that student is a witness to misconduct.  School administrators may suggest to the peace officer that the student should be questioned at a time when the student is not under the jurisdiction of school.

A peace officer may remove a child from school if that child is a victim of suspected child abuse or neglect.  In addition, a peace officer may interview a child at school in connection with an investigation of child abuse or neglect.  School personnel must not contact a minor’s parents or guardians if the minor was taken into custody in connection with a child abuse investigation.  Under these circumstances, the peace officer is responsible for notifying the minor’s parents or guardians.  School personnel must provide the peace officer with the address and telephone number of the minor’s parents or guardians.

Absent written parental consent, a court order or a subpoena, school personnel should not release pupil records  to peace officers.  There are, however, exceptions.  For further guidance on this issue, please refer to Section III. B. 3. Access to Pupil Records of this Manual.

B.        DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES        Table of Contents Y

A Department of Children and Family Services  (“DCFS”) representative is permitted to interview a minor at school during school hours if the minor is a victim of suspected child abuse or neglect.  A DCFS representative may also access and interview a minor child pursuant to a court order. 

Absent written parental consent, a subpoena, or a court order, school personnel should not release pupil records  to DCFS representatives.  For further guidance on this issue, please contact the Office of General Counsel.

C.        PROBATION OFFICERS AND OTHERS            Table of Contents Y

Board Rule 1204 permits representatives of the Los Angeles County Probation Department, California Youth Authority, and the FBI to interview students on school premises.  The interview must take place in the presence of the principal or a teacher.  Prior to conducting the interview, representatives must provide proper identification to the principal or teacher.  This rule does not allow these representatives to examine student records .

D.        MEDIA             Table of Contents Y

Members of the news media may visit a school for a news story.  Although the District encourages cooperation with the news media, principals and administrators must take all reasonable steps to protect students and make certain that the media do not cause serious interruptions to the school, students and teachers.  See Section VII E. Media On Campus of this Manual for an extensive discussion of media access to schools.

E.         MEGAN’S LAW (SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATIONS)            Table of Contents Y

Megan’s Law which appears in the California Penal Code at Sections 290 and 290.4 was enacted to warn local communities about sex offenders residing in a particular locality.  In general, Megan’s Law authorizes law enforcement agencies to notify the public, including public schools, about sex offenders who reside in, are employed in or frequently visit a certain community. 

While a school does not have a mandatory duty to notify parents or the public about the presence of a sex offender in the community, a school may disseminate information to parents or the public in the manner and to the extent authorized by the law enforcement entity.

District policy requires that a school site administrator immediately notify the School Police Watch Commander if the administrator receives information regarding the presence of a sex offender within school boundaries.  School Police will work with local law enforcement to determine whether the information should be disseminated and, if so, to what extent.

 


VI.             CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF STUDENTS            Table of Contents Y


Students have certain U.S. and California Constitutional rights.  Conduct that violates the student’s rights may result in civil liability for the District, administrators or employees.

A.                 STUDENT SEARCHES; DETAINING STUDENTS              Table of Contents Y

Generally students have a constitutional right to privacy and their persons or possessions are not subject to search.

Searches may be conducted under the following circumstances:

·        There is reasonable suspicion that student has violated or may violate a school rule (i.e., smoking on campus) or criminal statute (e.g., possession of gun, robbery, possession of drugs);

·        The scope of the search is reasonably related to the objectives of the search;[4] and

·        The search is not excessively intrusive in light of the nature of the infraction and the student’s age and gender.

No one other than school administrators, teachers, or school police officers may search a student while the student is on school property; they may also search any items under the student’s control (e.g., locker, backpack, purse, car, etc.).  School officials may detain and question a student even if they do not have a reasonable suspicion that the student has violated or may violate a school rule or criminal statute.

1.         Random Searches Table of Contents Y

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects students from unlawful searches.  However, the law allows school officials to conduct searches of students under certain limited circumstances. 

Searches Based on Reasonable Suspicion

If a student has engaged in conduct that causes an administrator to have a reasonable suspicion that the student has committed, or is about to commit a crime, has violated laws or school rules, the administrator may conduct a search of that student.  In order to conclude the search lawfully the administrator must:

·        Be able to articulate the reasons for his or her suspicion and the facts and/or circumstances surrounding a specific incident

·        Be able reasonably to connect the student to a specific incident, crime, rule or statute violation

·        Have relied on recent, credible information from personal knowledge and/or other eyewitnesses

·        Ensure that a search based on reasonable suspicion is not excessively intrusive in light of the student’s age and sex and the nature of the offense

When conducting a student search based on reasonable suspicion, school officials must adhere to the following practices:

·        Search only if there are clear and specific reasons for suspicion and there are facts that connect the student to a specific incident of misconduct

·        Jackets, purses, pockets, back packs, bags and containers in the student’s possession may be searched to the extent reasonably necessary

·        No “body” or “strip” searches are allowed

·        Only school officials of the same sex as the student searched may conduct the search

·        Searches based on reasonable suspicion must be conducted in a private area where the search will not be visible to other students or staff (except for a school administrator witness)

 

Random Metal Detector Searches

California courts and the California Attorney General’s Office have approved the use of random metal detector  searches for weapons.  Random use of metal detectors is appropriate only if:

·        The method of selection of students to be searched is genuinely random.

·        Students selected to participate in random metal detector searches are selected without regard to personally identifiable characteristics such as race, sex, surname, group affiliations or past history of misconduct.

·        The searches are minimally intrusive.

·        School officials provide parents and students with advance and detailed notice of the random metal detector search procedures.

If, as a result of a metal detector search, reasonable suspicion exists that a particular student may have a weapon, school officials may conduct a search of that student in a private area, in accordance with the above guidelines for reasonable suspicion searches.

2.         Impermissible Searches                Table of Contents Y

School employees must not conduct body cavity searches.  In addition, they must not remove or rearrange a student’s clothing in order to permit a visual inspection of the student’s underclothing, breasts, buttocks, or genitalia. 

B.        POLITICAL SPEECH AND CONDUCT            Table of Contents Y

1.         Student Political Speech  and Conduct                Table of Contents Y

a.         Official School Publications

California law guarantees freedom of the press for all official school publications , including newspapers, yearbooks, and other publications distributed to the student body. There are two important exceptions:

·        Material that is obscene, libelous, or slanderous materials, and

·        Material that could reasonably be expected to incite students to commit unlawful acts or violate lawful school regulations, or to cause substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

Board Rule 1275 provides that no publication may be censored except for the reasons specifically listed in that rule (i.e., libelous, slanderous, obscene, etc.). School officials must justify any censorship. 

b.         Non‑school Sponsored Publications

Administrators cannot require that a student submit non-school sponsored student newspapers for review before they are distributed.  Administrators may prohibit, however, the distribution of non-school sponsored publications if the material is found to be obscene, libelous, or slanderous or likely to disrupt substantially school operations.   This is an area where there is a thin line between the permissible and impermissible.  Principals and administrators should consult the Office of General Counsel if issues arise.

c.         Political Conduct: Rallies, Assemblies, Demonstrations, Sit-ins

Students have a First Amendment right to assemble and demonstrate  peaceably.  Administrators may not prohibit expression of any particular point of view. 

School administrators may establish reasonable, however, time, place or manner restrictions on this right.  For example, a school administrator may prohibit rallies during class time if students otherwise have the right to speak freely in a schoolyard when classes are not in session.  In addition, administrators should take care to insure that students’ attempted exercise of free speech does not advocate hate, violence, or discrimination.

If a group of pupils occupies and refuses to leave a classroom, office, library, auditorium or other space normally used to support the school’s educational program, the school administrator should contact school police or the local law enforcement agency and the Office of General Counsel.

C.        RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES            Table of Contents Y

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates strict governmental neutrality in religious matters . Therefore, District may neither favor nor disfavor any religion.

1.         Religion in the Classroom/Religious Observance                Table of Contents Y

Any activity that promotes religion is strictly prohibited in the public classroom. California, however, law allows references to religion or the use of  religious things if not used for religious instruction or to aid any religious sect, church, or purpose, and when properly included in the course of study.[5]

2.         Commencement Exercises/Athletic Events                Table of Contents Y

Generally, prayers, benedictions, or invocations are not permitted at public school graduations or athletic or other District sponsored events. 

D.        PATRIOTIC CEREMONIES            Table of Contents Y

By state law, public elementary schools must conduct appropriate patriotic exercises at the beginning of each school day.  See Education Code Section 52720.  The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance satisfies this requirement.  Public secondary schools are also required to conduct daily appropriate patriotic exercises.  The time and manner of these exercises is not restricted to the beginning of each school day.[6]

A public school student has a constitutional right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to refuse to salute the flag or to participate in required patriotic ceremonies, such as the Pledge of Allegiance .  Accordingly, students cannot be compelled to salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or to stand while the Pledge of Allegiance is being recited. 

When a student is unwilling to participate in the classroom’s patriotic exercises, the teacher should instruct the student to remain silent and seated during these exercises, if appropriate.  A student may not be disciplined solely for refusing participate in patriotic ceremonies.[7]

E.         DRESS CODES & UNIFORM POLICIES             Table of Contents Y

1.         Uniforms            Table of Contents Y

District policy allows each individual school to decide whether to adopt its own school uniform policy.  Prior to the implementation of a uniform policy, a school must satisfy the following requirements:[8]

·        Include the policy in its school site plan;

·        Provide at least six (6) months notice to parents regarding the new uniform policy;

·        Provide resources to assist economically disadvantaged families who wish to purchase uniforms; and

·        Include an opt-out provision in the school’s uniform policy for parents who wish not to purchase  uniforms.

2.         Dress Code             Table of Contents Y

A school may adopt a reasonable dress code policy that prohibits students from wearing “gang-related apparel” if the policy is necessary to protect the health and safety of the school environment.  The dress code policy may be included as part of the school’s safety  plan.

F.         STUDENT ACTIVITY FEES            Table of Contents Y

A pupil must not be required to pay any fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law.  (California Code of Regulations, Title 5, section 350.)  This means, among other things, that a school may not require students to purchase textbooks, or pay student activity fees  to participate in band, chorus or athletics.  It also means that a school may not require students to purchase gym clothes or other items needed for class work, for core classes, electives, or extra-curricular activities.

G.        RODRIGUEZ CONSENT DECREE            Table of Contents Y

Arising out of a lawsuit filed by taxpayer residents in August 1986, the Rodriguez consent decree obligates the District to equalize “basic norm resources” provided to all school sites.  The lawsuit was filed out of concern that some District schools were academically disadvantaged because they had disproportionately high numbers of inexperienced teachers and administrators or staff.  On December 19, 1991, the District, plaintiffs, and intervenors in the lawsuit (UTLA, AALA, CSEA) entered into a consent decree, which is essentially a court-monitored settlement and compliance agreement.  Under the consent decree the District agreed to the following: (1) starting in the 1997-1998 school year and each year thereafter, to equalize per pupil allocation and expenditure of basic norm resources, and, (2) to commit to school facility improvement, enrollment size, and school density (ratio of students/playground acreage) goals.  The consent decree expires after December 2005.

As articulated in the consent decree, the goals of the equal allocation of basic norm resources are to: (1) equalize basic norm resources, teacher experience and teacher training across the District, (2) provide all students with maximum access to experienced teachers, and, (3) mitigate the consequence of limited teacher experience and training.  (Rodriguez consent decree , Part II.)   As defined in the decree, “basic norm resources” means funds “allocated from state or local [District] general purpose revenue for teachers’ salaries, school administrator salaries, instructional material accounts, noon recreation programs, school advisory committee expenses, student data system supplies, and temporary personnel accounts.”  (Rodriguez consent decree, para. 13(a).)   “Basic norm resources” does not include categorical fund allocations, including federal Title I, EIA, desegregation/TIIP, or multi-track year round school funding.  Additionally, all elementary schools are entitled to sufficient resources to fund one principal and one office manager/school secretary; all middle and senior high schools are entitled funds for one principal, one office manager/school secretary, one financial manager and one head counselor. ((Rodriguez consent decree, para. 16(a) and (b).)

   To comply with the equalization requirement, the District annually ranks its “regular schools”[9] by level (elementary, middle, or senior high) based on the amount of norm resources each school received the prior year.  Schools ranked as low spending schools (that is, those schools that spend lower than average amounts on “basic norm resources”) may be eligible for an additional allocation of funds (sometimes referred to as the Rodriguez allocation) and will be encouraged to use available resources for teacher and administrator salaries and training, as well as other Rodriguez– eligible purposes. Typically, this means that School Management Services, at the Roadshow held throughout the Winter and Spring, will work with individual “Band One” school sites (schools with lower than average “basic norm resources”) to ensure the hiring of “Band Three” (or more experienced teachers) for the school.  School Management Services has also developed a form provided to each low spending school to assist with the appropriate expenditure of specific Rodriguez allocations.  In order to access specific Rodriguez allocations, eligible school sites must complete this form and receive the approval of School Management Services and the Chief Operating Office.  Once approved, the Rodriguez funds will be released for school site use.

The facilities component of the Rodriguez consent decree focuses on school facilities improvement, school size, and density issues.  Three overarching facilities goals are expressed in the decree:  (1) that the classroom seats constructed allow students to attend their own local resident schools, consistent with sound educational policy and school size and density goals, (2) that school size goals, by level of school, exist for all newly-constructed and existing schools, and (3) that school density goals (student/playground acreage) are articulated for each school, based on the level of school.  In the event of a change in District density goals, the District is obligated to provide plaintiffs notice of the change.   


VII.           ADMINISTERING THE SCHOOL        Table of Contents Y


A.        CONTRACTING        Table of Contents Y

1.         Overview                                Table of Contents Y

Under state law, the District must enter into contracts with vendors to purchase or lease goods and obtain services.  Contracts are given various titles (e.g. purchase order, memorandum of understanding, invoice, professional services agreement, etc.)  Regardless of the title, however, contracts are used by the District and its vendors (and, if necessary the courts) to establish their legal rights and responsibilities.  Therefore, it is critical that the District’s contracts be legally enforceable, comply with State law, and contain provisions that clearly describe the District’s rights and obligations and protect the District’s legal interests.

Only the Board can authorize or ratify contracts for purchases of property, supplies, equipment, and professional services and leases of property and equipment. (Education Code section 17604.)  State law allows the Board to delegate its authority to contract to District employees and administrators.  (Education Code sections 17605, 17606 and 35161.)  Generally, however, contracts signed by District employee’s or administrators are not legally enforceable by or against the District unless the contracts are within an employee’s or administrator’s delegated authority and the Board authorizes or ratifies the contracts.  District employees and administrators who enter into purchase contracts or leases that are outside of their delegated authority face of personal liability and discipline.  (Education Code sections 17604 and 17605; Bulletin C-4)

Administrators receiving unsolicited or solicited advertisements, proposals or visits from potential vendors should not sign any documents before the administrators have established that they have delegated authority to sign the document and that the District’s legal interests are protected.  Administrators should contact the Procurement Services Group or the Office of General Counsel for assistance early in the development of contracts

2.         Purchase of Supplies, Equipment and General Services                    Table of Contents Y

Generally, all contracts for the purchase or lease of equipment, materials, supplies, or general services that meet or exceed the competitive bid threshold set forth in the state competitive bidding law (currently $59,600 for non-public projects and $15,000 for public projects [10], subject to annual adjustment), must be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder following a formal bid procedure.  (Public Contract Code section 20111.)

 Items in the District’s General Stores Warehouse have met the legal purchasing requirements and can be ordered directly from the Warehouse without following the formal bid requirements.  In addition, the District’s Procurement Services Group establishes several master contracts for general services that meet the legal purchasing requirements. 

Schools and offices must not do the following:

·        split purchases to avoid the competitive bidding law (Pub. Con. Code Sec. 20116);

·        receive gifts as an incentive to place an order with a vendor;

·        create documents that take the place of official District purchase orders (Student Body Purchase Orders); or

·        place or telephone orders with a vendor (with limited exceptions).  (Bulletin C-17)

3.         Professional Services Contracts                    Table of Contents Y

Professional services contracts  are contracts between the District and professionals (e.g. an accountant, motivational speaker, psychologist, computer programmer, doctor, etc.) for the provision of professional services.  Services that are not professional in nature (e.g. janitorial, moving, etc.) are general services and subject to California laws and District policies regarding competitive bidding. (See subsection 2 above) 

Professional services contracts pose significant challenges to administrators.  As a result, the individuals responsible for contracting and their obligations must be clearly defined.  Each contract should have a contract sponsor, contract manager, and a strategic administrator.  The contract sponsor is the department, division or school that will benefit from the goods or services being acquired and is responsible for creating the scope of work that describes what the contractor will provide in terms of goods or services.  The contract manager should be a person with business acumen who will be responsible for ensuring that the contract sponsor, and ultimately the District, receives the benefit anticipated from the contract and who can administer the contract and evaluate the contractor.  Depending on the contract, the sponsor and manager may be the same person.  The strategic administrator approves the business purpose of the contract and verifies the alignment of the acquisition with the Superintendent’s Strategic Plan or other recognized District objective.  Each of these responsibilities are significant in terms of protecting the District’s financial and legal interests. 

Under state law, professional services contracts are exempt from competitive bidding and the award of contracts to the lowest responsible bidder.   (Pub. Cont. Code Sec. 20111(c).)  However, District policy requires that administrators choose a professional services contractor after concluding a price and service comparison process.   The type of process that is required (the processes range from soliciting telephone quotes to conducting an RFP  process) is dictated by contract value. (Bulletin C-4.)  A chart describing the process requirements is set forth below: 

Contract Amount

Process Required

$5,000 or less

Two telephone quotes

$5,000 to $59,600

Three written quotes

Above $59,600

Request for Proposal unless waiver is obtained

The contract sponsor may conduct the Request for Proposal (RFP) process with or without the assistance of the PSG.  However, the contract process should start no less than five (5) months before the start of the project or, for amendments, before the contract expires.  The contract manager is responsible for timely initiation of a contract.  However, the contract sponsor must determine initially whether it is appropriate to look to in-house resources or outside vendors to obtain the goods or services. 

Education Code section 45103.1 describes the requirements for entering into a “personal services contracts” which is the same as professional services. This went into effect on January 1, 2003, establishes standards for the use of personal services contracts if the services are currently or customarily performed by classified school employees.  If that condition is met, then contract sponsors must show that the contract results in actual overall cost savings to the District and satisfy a number of other conditions, including competitively bidding the contract.  If a contract the sponsor believes that the contract involves services that are currently or customarily performed by classified school employees, then it is recommended that the sponsor contact Procurement Services Group for guidance on how to proceed. 

The contract sponsor is required to competitively bid the professional services if the services fall under Education Code section 45103.1 or if the contract is above the statutory bid limit and there is not a valid reason for a waiver.  Waivers will be granted in limited instances and only if one or more of the following criteria apply:

·        District staff have thoroughly investigated possible vendors, and it is reasonable to believe no other significant vendor would appear who would offer the same quality of services at significantly different prices;

·        Time is of the essence, such as an unusual and compelling emergency and the District would be seriously injured unless the RFP waiver is granted (not to be used in situations of poor advance planning);

·        The vendor already has significant knowledge of the problem or the District’s operations, or the District has a high level of confidence in the work that more than offsets any price advantage that might be attained by a Request for Proposal;

·        District staff have conducted an informal process similar to a Request for Proposal; or

·        The District has agreed to pay for a third party’s legal fees or other professional service fees and the selection of such contractor belongs to that third party.

The contract sponsor or manager must determine whether the selected contractor has a good reputation for integrity and qualifies as an independent contractor. 

The terms and conditions are the heart and soul of the contract.  They describe the legal rights and responsibilities of the District and contractors.  Administrators should avoid signing contracts offered by contractors because, as a general rule, the terms and conditions favor the contractor over the District.  For example, contractors routinely provide contracts that require the District to protect the contractor from liability that may arise because of mistakes made by the contractor. 

Generally, there are three contracting vehicles that maybe available to contract sponsors.  One alternative is to pick a vendor from a master contract that has been previously negotiated by the District.  Since all alignment and business questions have been answered previously (when the contract was first negotiated).  All the sponsor will need do in this case is check to see if there is money available to pay for the service and encumber it.  This option is most likely to be relevant for small agreements for services used repeatedly by numerous schools and offices.

A second alternative is to pick from a California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS ) contract.  In this case, the contract has been negotiated with the State rather than the District, so the sponsor’s supervisor will have to approve the contract for alignment and someone with business skills will have to assure the cost-effectiveness of the agreement.  We expect this option to be used for small or large agreements. 

The final alternative is for the sponsor to enter into a unique agreement.  In order to assist the sponsor and reduce the risk that the sponsor will agree to terms adverse to the District, the District will provide templates of standard terms.  As a further assistance to sponsors, the Procurement Services Group is in the process of developing a file of pre-approved vendors so that sponsors can be assured that a vendor is reputable without undertaking the due diligence themselves. 

The description of the work contractors will perform, often referred to as scopes of work, is also critical.  Scopes of work are incorporated by reference into the terms and conditions of contracts and often determine whether, as a practical matter, contracts are enforceable.  Poorly drafted scopes of work are usually vague and fail to describe with specificity the work the contractor will perform.  As a result, the District (nor a court for that matter) has no standard against which to measure contractor performance.  Even the most eloquently drafted terms and conditions cannot be enforced without performance standards.  Contract sponsors will have access to a scope of work template that the sponsor can fill in with some assurance that all relevant terms will be covered.

Scopes of work are particularly important, and challenging, when administrators are contracting for services in areas where they have limited knowledge, the services are multifaceted or the services are simply difficult to put in writing.  In these circumstances, administrators often rely on the contractor to prepare the scope of work.  This is a mistake.  Contractors generally define their responsibilities either so broadly that it is difficult to judge their performance or so narrowly that they receive compensation for doing very little.  Therefore, a contractor’s proposal should almost never be used as the scope of work.  Administrators should contact the Procurement Services Group or the Office of General Counsel for assistance with drafting scopes of work.

The fees paid for professional services should be determined by negotiation between administrators and contractors.  Administrators are not required to accept the fee schedules provided in quotes or proposals.  They can negotiate fees even with contractors who claim to have provided the lowest fee schedules. 

As stated in subsection 1 above, contracts for professional services are not legally enforceable by or against the District until they are authorized or ratified by the Board.  Consequently, administrators should not allow vendors to begin work until contracts are properly authorized. 

For contracts or amendments that have a value of the statutory bid limit (currently $59,600) or less, the Board must delegate its authority to approve contracts to the administrator before the contract or amendment can be enforceable.  Therefore, contractors can begin work on these contracts only after they are executed by the proper administrator who has delegated authority.  Any contract or amendment that exceeds the statutory bid limit must be approved by the Board before the vendor can perform services and receive payment.  It should be noted that a recent California Supreme Court decision suggests that contractors who perform work under contracts that have not been approved or ratified by the Board are not entitled to payment for their services even if administrators authorize commencement of work before board approval or ratification.  The courts have not yet decided if board ratification is required to pay contractors when administrators acting within delegated authority approve a contract.        

4.         Collective Bargaining                Table of Contents Y

California’s school employees are subject to what is known as the Education Employees Relations Act, or EERA.  The purpose of the EERA is to promote improved labor relations by providing a consistent basis for recognizing the representation rights of public sector employees.  School district employees are expressly allowed to form, join and participate in the activities of an employee organization of their choosing for the purpose of representation on all matters related to employer-employee relations.  Unlike their counterparts in the private sector, public sector supervisors can be members of unions as well. 

 

The District has in excess of 100,000 full- and part-time employees.  Virtually all of them, with the exception of Senior Management and Confidential employees, are represented by a union.  There are seven different unions representing LAUSD’s employees, in 10 different collective bargaining units.  Each bargaining unit has a collective bargaining agreement, or contract, with the District.  Each contract often has its own unique provisions relating to matters such as hours worked, overtime, vacations, work assignments, seniority, and other similar issues.  Needless to say, it is very important that the District fulfill its obligations with regard to its collective bargaining agreements with its union employees.  It is also important that the District not discriminate, or take any action, against an employee who has exercised his or her rights under the EERA or the collective bargaining agreement.

Here are the various unions at the District, and the employees they represent:

EMPLOYEE GROUP

UNION

Teachers

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)

Administrators

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA)

School Police (Unit A)

Los Angeles School Police Association (LASPA)

Instructional Aids (Unit B)

Los Angeles City and County School Employees Union (Local 99)

Operations – Support Services (Unit C)

Los Angeles City and County School Employees Union (Local 99)

Office – Technical & Business Service (Unit D)

California School Employees Association (CSEA)

Skilled Crafts (Unit E)

L.A./Orange County Building & Construction Trades Council

Teacher Assistants (Unit F)

Los Angeles City and County School Employees Union (Local 99)

School Supervision Aides (Unit G)

Los Angeles City and County School Employees Union (Local 99)

Classified Supervisors (Unit S)

Teamsters (Local 572)

When making decisions concerning matters such as work assignments, scheduling (including vacations), and transfers, it is important to consult the appropriate collective bargaining agreement to determine if it permits or restricts the action to be taken.  If so, the contract’s provisions must be followed.  Here are some other “do’s” and “do nots” when it comes to collective bargaining  issues:

Do

  • Know the contracts that are applicable to your employees

  • Keep full and accurate records

  • Be impartial; treat everyone the same

Do Not

  • Negotiate agreements or contracts at the site level

  • Make “side deals” that are contrary to or in conflict with union contracts

  • Show favoritism when imposing discipline

  • Act in an arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory manner

If you have any questions concerning the District’s obligations under its various union contracts, you should contact Staff Relations, or the appropriate labor relations representative for your Local District or operating unit. 

 

B.        EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

1.         Equal Opportunity                    Table of Contents Y

It is the LAUSD’s policy to provide equal employment  opportunities to all qualified persons.  LAUSD does not discriminate against its employees or applicants for employment in any way based upon an individual’s race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, color, physical or mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, age (40-plus), medical condition (e.g. cancer-related), veteran status, or on any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local laws or regulations.  It is the intent of the LAUSD that equal opportunities will be provided in employment, promotions, wages, benefits and all other privileges, terms and conditions of employment.

All personnel actions, such as recruiting, selection and placement, training, benefits, promotions and upgrading, transfers, layoffs, suspensions, termination, social and recreational programs are applicable to all persons on a non-discriminatory basis. Any questions regarding any of the above should be discussed in detail with your supervisor, or a Human Resources representative. 

2.         Harassment                    Table of Contents Y

Sexual harassment  is a violation of District’s policy’s (Sexual Harassment Policy-Employees Bulletin No. S-26 December 3, 2001) and state and federal law, and will not be tolerated.  The district considers sexual harassment to be a major offense, which can result in discipline, including dismissal or suspension. District policy absolutely forbids all forms of sexual harassment of employees, independent contractors, or job applicants.

Sexual Harassment Defined: California Education Code Section 212.5 defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature if (1) submission to the sexual conduct becomes an explicit or implied term or condition of employment; (2) submission to or rejection of the sexual conduct  is used as a basis for employment decisions, or (3) the sexual conduct  has the effect of either unreasonably interfering with an employee’s job performance or creating an hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment.  Sexual harassment includes verbal, physical, and visual harassment, as well as unwanted sexual advances.

Pursuant to the California Education Code Sections 48980(h) and 231.5, a copy of the District’s sexual harassment policy shall:

  • Be displayed in a prominent location in the main administrative building, staff lounge, or other area of the campus or school site.  “Prominent location” means that location where notices regarding rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct are posted.

  • Appear in any school or District publication that sets forth the school’s or the District’s comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conducts.

Responsibility

Administrators/Supervisors should ensure that:  Employees receive information related to sexual harassment.  (The brochure “Sexual Harassment Prevention” is available from the Equal Opportunity Section (213) 241-7649.)  Any Administrators/Supervisors who fails to report will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.

All employees shall cooperate with the District’s efforts to eliminate and prevent discrimination/sexual harassment by maintaining a working and learning environment free that is from such unlawful discrimination. Consequently, district employee must:

·        Not take any action to discourage a victim of harassment from reporting such an incident.

·        Cooperate in the investigation of sexual harassment complaints by providing any information that he/she might personally possess concerning the complaint being investigated.

·        Guard against any actions that would be considered retaliatory against another employee or student who has filed a sexual harassment complaint or who is participating in an investigation of such a complaint.

Responding to Complaints

Complaints of sexual harassment  are often sensitive, complex and difficult to handle.  Describe below are an informal and a formal process for responding to such a complaint.  A more detailed description is found in the District’s Sexual Harassment Policy-Employees Bulletin No. 26 December 3, 2001. An employee/complainant should never be forced to confront the accused person unless the employee/complainant consents and reprisal or intimidation is unlikely. 

 

Informal Process

An employee may discuss his or her complaint with the school’s administrator or designee to attempt to resolve his or her complaint without delay.  The administrator or designee should first explain the formal and informal procedure available to resolve complaint.  Next, the administrator or designee should provide the employee with copy of District’s Sexual Harassment Policy.  The following action should then be taken:

a.       Treat all allegations of sexual harassment  seriously and investigate them promptly in a way that respects the privacy of all the parties to the greatest extent possible.

b.      Interview everyone involved including witnesses and request written statements. Any oral report of sexual harassment  is considered a sexual harassment  complaint and must be addressed.

c.       Document all known incidents of sexual harassment.

d.      Follow up and verify with the complainant that the action taken did stop the harassment and did remedy the complaint.

e.       Document the steps taken to resolve the incident and any action taken in monitoring or following to assess the effectiveness of the remedies put in place.  Keep the documentation in a separate sexual harassment  file.

f.        If the complainant is dissatisfied with the response from his/her supervisor, or if the supervisor is not immediately available, the individual should be informed to contact either their Equal Opportunity Section or Office of the General Counsel. 

 

Formal Process

            Provision should be made for an employee to discuss his/her complaint with the school’s administrator or designee without delay.  The informal process shall be bypassed if the complaint names a school-based administrator as a respondent.  In that case, the complainant should file directly with the Equal Opportunity Section to initiate a formal complaint at (213) 241-7649.

a.       The “Employment Discrimination Complaint  Form” should be used to request that the Equal Opportunity Section conduct an internal investigation concerning discrimination in the work place.  See Bulletin No. S-26 December 3, 2001.

b.      The Equal Opportunity Section must notify the complainant of its acceptance or rejection of the complaint within ten (10) days of receipt of the complaint.

c.       Investigation consists of an official inquiry and systematic examination of the allegations.

d.      The scope of the investigation shall be limited to the allegations cited in the complaint.

 

Right To File Charges And Complaints:

An employee, independent contractor, or job applicant who suffers harassment or discrimination proscribed by law can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which can be reached at (213) 439-6703, or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which can be reached at (213) 894-1000, or with both.  Both of these agencies are empowered to investigate and remedy claims of discrimination or harassment brought by employees.  Any student who feels he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment may also file a complaint with LAUSD’s Office of Educational Equity, (213) 241-7682.

3.         Pregnancy and Family Leaves                Table of Contents Y

LAUSD provides both pregnancy and family medical leave benefits.     

a.         Family Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act (Family) Leave

To be eligible for FMLA  leave, an employee must have been employed by the LAUSD for at least 130 days and must have worked at least 1250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding commencement of the FMLA leave.

Events That May Entitle an Employee to FMLA Leave

The 12-week FMLA allowance includes any time taken (with or without pay) for any of the following reasons:

·        To care for the employee’s newborn child or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care.  Leaves for this purpose must conclude 12 months after the birth, adoption, or placement. If LAUSD employs both parents, they will be entitled to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave for this purpose.

·        The employee’s own serious health condition (including a serious health condition resulting from an on-the-job illness or injury) employee unable to perform his or her job at all or unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of his or her job. A disability caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions is covered by LAUSD’s separate pregnancy disability policy rather than the FMLA policy.

·        To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.

A “serious health condition” is an illness, injury , impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: (1) in-patient care (i.e., an overnight stay) in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care; or (2) continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Amount of FMLA Leave

FMLA leave can be taken in one or more periods, but may not exceed 12 work-weeks total for any purpose in any 12-month period, as described below.  For any one, or combination of the above-described situations. “Twelve work-weeks” means the equivalent of twelve of the employee’s normally scheduled work-weeks. For a full-time employee who works five eight-hour days per week, “twelve work-weeks” means 60 working and/or paid eight-hour days.

The “12 month period” in which 12 weeks of FMLA leave may be taken is the 12-month period immediately preceding the commencement of any FMLA Leave.

Pay During FMLA Leave

FMLA leaves are unpaid.

The receipt of State Disability Insurance benefits will not extend the length of the FMLA leave.

Health Benefits

The provisions of LAUSD’s various employee benefit  plans govern continuing eligibility during FMLA leave, and these provisions may change from time to time. When a request for FMLA leave is granted, LAUSD will give the employee written confirmation of the arrangements made for the payment of insurance premiums during the leave period.

Seniority

An employee on FMLA leave remains an employee and the leave will not constitute a break in service. An employee who returns from FMLA leave will return with the same seniority he or she had when the leave commenced.

Medical Certifications

An employee requesting FMLA leave because of his or her own or a relative’s serious health condition must provide medical certification  from the appropriate health care provider on a form supplied by LAUSD. Failure to provide the required certification in a timely manner (within 15 days of the leave request) may result in denial of the leave request until such certification is provided.

If LAUSD has reason to doubt the medical certification supporting a leave due to the employee’s own serious health condition, LAUSD may request a second opinion by a health care provider of its choice (paid for by LAUSD). If the second opinion differs from the first one, LAUSD will pay for a third, mutually agreeable, health care provider to provide a final and binding opinion.

Recertification is required if leave is sought after expiration of the time estimated by the health care provider. Failure to submit required recertification could result in termination of the leave.

Method for Requesting and Scheduling FMLA Leave

An employee should request FMLA leave by completing a Request for Leave form and submitting it to the Administrator or Supervisor or Department Head. An employee asking for a Request for Leave form will be given a copy of LAUSD’s then-current FMLA leave policy.

Employees should provide not less than 30 days’ notice, or such shorter notice as is practicable, for foreseeable childbirth, placement, or any planned medical treatment for the employee or his/her spouse, child, or parent. Failure to provide such notice is grounds for denial of a leave request, except if the need for FMLA leave was an emergency or was otherwise unforeseeable.

Where possible, employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule foreseeable planned medical treatments so as not to unduly disrupt LAUSD’s operations.

If FMLA leave is taken because of the employee’s own serious health condition or the serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, parent, or child, the leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary, as determined by the health care provider of the person with the serious health condition.

If FMLA leave is taken because of the birth of the employee’s child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, the minimum duration of leave is two weeks, except that the LAUSD will grant a request for FMLA leave for this purpose of at least one day but less than two weeks’ duration on any two occasions.

If an employee needs intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule that is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment for the employee or a family member, the employee may be transferred temporarily to an available alternative position for which he or she is qualified that has equivalent pay and benefits and that better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee’s regular position.

In most cases, the LAUSD will respond to a FMLA leave request within two days of acquiring knowledge that the leave is being taken for an FMLA-qualifying reason and, in any event, within 10 days of receiving the request. If an FMLA leave request is granted, the LAUSD will notify the employee in writing that the leave will be counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement. This notice will explain the employee’s obligations and the consequences of failing to satisfy them.

Return to Work

Upon timely return at the expiration of the FMLA leave period, an employee (other than a “key” employee whose reinstatement would cause serious and grievous economic injury to LAUSD’s operations) is entitled to the same or a comparable, position with the same or similar duties and virtually identical pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment unless the same position and any comparable position(s) have ceased to exist because of legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

When a request for FMLA leave is granted to an employee (other than a “key” employee), LAUSD will give the employee a written guarantee of reinstatement at the termination of the leave (with the limitations explained above).

Before an employee will be permitted to return from FMLA leave taken because of his or her own serious health condition, the employee must obtain a certification from his or her health care provider that he or she is able to resume work.

If an employee can return to work with limitations, LAUSD will evaluate those limitations and, if possible, will accommodate the employee as required by law. If accommodation cannot be made, the employee will be medically separated from LAUSD.

Limitations on Reinstatement

The LAUSD may refuse to reinstate a “key” employee if the refusal is necessary to prevent substantial and grievous economic injury  to LAUSD’s operations. A “key” employee is an exempt salaried employee who is among the highest paid 10% of LAUSD’s employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite.

A “key” employee will be advised in writing at the time of a request for, or if earlier, at the time of commencement of, FMLA leave, that he or she qualifies as a “key” employee and the potential consequences with respect to reinstatement and maintenance of health benefits if LAUSD determines that substantial and grievous economic injury to LAUSD’s operations will result if the employee is reinstated from FMLA leave. At the time it determines that refusal is necessary, LAUSD will notify the “key” employee in writing (by certified mail) of its intent to refuse reinstatement and will explain the basis for finding that the employee’s reinstatement would cause LAUSD to suffer substantial and grievous economic injury. If LAUSD realizes after the leave has commenced that refusal of reinstatement is necessary, it will give the employee at least ten (10) days to return to work following the notice of its intent to refuse reinstatement.

Employment During Leave

An employee on FMLA leave may not accept employment with any other employer without LAUSD’s written permission. An employee who accepts such employment will be deemed to have resigned from employment at LAUSD.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

To be eligible for Pregnancy Disability Leave, the employee must be disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

The four-month Pregnancy Disability Leave allowance includes any time taken (with or without pay) for any of the following reasons:

·        The employee is unable to work at all or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of her job or is unable to perform any one or more of the essential functions of her job without undue risk to herself, the successful completion of her pregnancy, or to other persons because of pregnancy or childbirth or because of any medically recognized physical or mental condition that is related to pregnancy or childbirth (including severe morning sickness); or

·        The employee needs to take time off for prenatal care.

Amount of Pregnancy Disability Leave

Pregnancy Disability Leave may be taken in one or more periods, but may not exceed four months total. “Four months” means the number of days the employee would normally work within four months. For a full-time employee who works five eight-hour days per week, “four months” means 88 working and/or paid eight-hour days of leave entitlement, based on an average of 22 working days per month for four months.

Pregnancy Disability Leave does not count against the leave available under LAUSD’s policy on Family Care and Medical Leave.

Pay During Pregnancy Disability Leave

Pregnancy Disability Leaves are unpaid leaves.

The receipt of State Disability Insurance benefits will not extend the length of the Pregnancy Disability Leave.

Health Benefits

The provisions of LAUSD’s various employee benefit plans govern continuing eligibility during Pregnancy Disability Leave, and these provisions may change from time to time. When a request for Pregnancy Disability Leave is granted, LAUSD will give the employee written confirmation of the arrangements made for the payment of insurance premiums during the leave period.

Seniority

An employee on Pregnancy Disability Leave remains an employee of LAUSD and the leave will not constitute a break in service. When the employee returns from Pregnancy Disability Leave, she will return with the same seniority she had when the leave commenced.

Medical Certifications

An employee requesting a Pregnancy Disability Leave must provide medical certification from her health care provider on a form supplied by LAUSD. Failure to provide the required certification in a timely manner (within 15 days of the leave request) may result in denial of the leave request until such certification is provided.

Recertifications are required if leave is sought after expiration of the time estimated by the health care provider. Failure to submit required recertifications could result in termination of the leave.

How Pregnancy Disability Leave Is Requested and Scheduled

An employee should request Pregnancy  Disability Leave by completing a Request for Leave form and submitting it to the General Manager. An employee asking for a Request for Leave form will be given a copy of LAUSD’s then-current Pregnancy Disability Leave policy.

Employees should provide not less than 30 days’ notice, or such shorter notice as is practicable, if the need for the leave is foreseeable. Failure to provide such notice is grounds for denial of a leave request, except if the need for Pregnancy Disability Leave was an emergency or was otherwise unforeseeable.

Where possible, employees must make a reasonable effort to schedule foreseeable planned medical treatments so as not to unduly disrupt LAUSD’s operations.

Pregnancy Disability Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically advisable, as determined by the employee’s health care provider.

If an employee needs intermittent leave or leave on a reduced leave schedule that is foreseeable based on planned medical treatment, the employee may be transferred temporarily to an available alternative position for which she is qualified that has equivalent pay and benefits that better accommodates recurring periods of leave than the employee’s regular position.

In most cases, LAUSD will respond to a Pregnancy  Disability Leave request within two days of acquiring knowledge that the leave qualifies as Pregnancy Disability Leave and, in any event, within 10 days of receiving the request. If a Pregnancy Disability Leave request is granted, LAUSD will notify the employee in writing that the leave will be counted against the employee’s Pregnancy Disability Leave entitlement. This notice will explain the employee’s obligations and the consequences of failing to satisfy them.

Return To Work

Upon timely return at the expiration of the Pregnancy Disability Leave period, an employee is entitled to the same position unless the employee would not otherwise have been employed in the same position at the time reinstatement is requested for legitimate business reasons unrelated to the employee’s Pregnancy Disability Leave or each means of preserving the job for the employee (such as leaving it unfilled or filling it with a temporary employee) would have substantially undermined LAUSD’s ability to operate the business safely and efficiently. If the employee is not reinstated to the same position, she must be reinstated to a comparable position unless there is no comparable position available or a comparable position is available, but filling that position with the returning employee would substantially undermine LAUSD’s ability to operate the business safely and efficiently. A “comparable” position is a position that involves the same or similar duties and responsibilities and is virtually identical to the employee’s original position in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions.

When a request for Pregnancy Disability Leave is granted to an employee, LAUSD will give the employee a written guarantee of reinstatement at the end of the leave (with the limitations explained above).

Before an employee will be permitted to return from a Pregnancy Disability Leave of three days or more, the employee must obtain a certification from her health care provider that she is able to resume work.

If the employee takes FMLA leave for reason of the birth of her child at the expiration of her Pregnancy Disability Leave, her right to reinstatement is governed by the Family Care and Medical Leave policy, not by this policy.

If the employee can return to work with limitations, LAUSD will evaluate those limitations and, if possible, will accommodate the employee as required by law. If accommodation cannot be made, the employee will be medically separated from LAUSD.

Employment During Leave

An employee on Pregnancy Disability Leave may not accept employment with any other employer without LAUSD’s written permission. An employee who accepts such employment will be deemed to have resigned from employment at LAUSD.

4.         Progressive Discipline                Table of Contents Y

The purpose of progressive discipline  is to put employees on notice of a particular problem in an effort to resolve that problem.  It is important for employees to be given notice of any deficiencies in their work performance along with clear guidance regarding how the deficiencies can be eliminated or improved.  The purpose of discipline is not be punitive, but to change inadequate, inappropriate behavior in the workplace.  Employing progressive discipline also serves to create a record that a problem has been brought to the attention of the employee.

When a problem is identified, the first step is to identify the problem and bring it to the attention of the employee.  This can be done informally, in the way of a oral counseling.  (For example, if an employee is consistently late to work, tell the employee you notice he or she is consistently late and determine if the employee has a problem of which you should be aware.)  Counsel the employee a second time and document the counseling in a memorandum.  Staff Relations can provide assistance with writing these memorandums.

If the problem continues, a formal conference should be held with the employee.  This will officially put the employee on notice of a deficiency, alert the employee that disciplinary action will be taken if deficiency is not corrected.  The conference will provide assistance and guidance regarding how the matter can be resolved.  This conference must be documented in the form of a conference memorandum which is to be given to the employee.  If there are witnesses involved, witness statements may be provided at this conference and attached to the conference memorandum.  The employee has a right to respond to the memo and have his response attached to the memorandum as well.  This memorandum will be used as evidence that a problem has been previously identified if there is a need to impose discipline.

If a matter is still not resolved, it may be necessary to impose formal discipline.  Formal discipline may consist of a suspension, demotion or termination.  The District uses “Notice of Unsatisfactory Act/Service” to impose discipline.  This document must have attached to it all supporting documents including witness statements, conference memorandums (described above) or other evidence of the deficiency.  Staff Relations can assist administrators with drafting “Notice of Unsatisfactory Act/Service .”

C.        PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUESTS            Table of Contents Y

State laws and regulations require that the District keep documents created or received by or on behalf of the District.  The length of time the records must be kept depends upon the type of record and its contents.  Administrators who wish to purge documents should contact the Office of General Counsel to verify that the documents can be destroyed.

The California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) provides for public access to records maintained by the District.  The Office of General Counsel processes and responds to Public Records Act requests to the District.  If the school receives a Public Records Act request, it should immediately fax a copy of the request to the Office of General Counsel, Central Office Team and call for further instructions.  To qualify as a request for documents under CPRA, the request must be in writing and specifically describe the materials requested.  An administrator should not provide records or documents to anyone without first contacting the Office of General Counsel

Upon receipt of a request for records pursuant to CPRA, Office of General Counsel staff will:

·        Determine whether documents requested must be released and reply to the requestor within 10 days of receiving the request; 

·        Coordinate with the school or units holding the documents as to the most efficient, cost effective way of complying with the request; 

·        Supervise production of the documents and ensure that an index of documents examined or copied is prepared and maintained; 

D.        SUBPOENAS                Table of Contents Y

A subpoena is an order, usually issued in the name of a court or an administrative agency commanding a person to appear before and/or to produce designated documents to the court or agency.   

Compliance with a subpoena by the date designated in the subpoena is mandatory.  Failure to comply may result in contempt proceedings, arrest, or a finding of personal liability. 

A subpoena does not become a binding legal document until it is “served” on the individual named on the document.  The law usually requires that service of a subpoena be accomplished by personal delivery to the person designated. 

The District will not accept service of subpoenas that are not related to the official business of the District.  Subpoenas seeking student or employee records, maintained at the school site, may be accepted by school administrators and submitted to the Office of General Counsel for handling.  All other subpoenas concerning official District matters should only be accepted by the Board Secretariat.

When service of a subpoena is attempted at school, the school should determine to whom the subpoena is directed.  If the subpoena concerns a personal legal matter rather than a District legal matter, the person or entity serving the subpoena should be directed away from school campuses and offices and told to conduct their business away from District property.

If the subpoena involves official District business, the school administrator should respond as follow:

If the subpoena seeks student or employee records available on that campus, the school administrator may accept service.  If the school administrator accepts service, he or she should immediately contact the Field Services Legal Team or the Office of General Counsel.  OGC staff will advise what actions are appropriate.

If the subpoena seeks any other District records, the school administrator should not accept service, but should direct the process server to the Board Secretariat which will accept service and notify the appropriate division or section, as well as the Office of General Counsel.

If the process server leaves the subpoena even though the school or office has refused to accept service, clearly inform the server that you are not accepting service and are not authorized to accept service for District.  After the process server leaves, fax a copy of the subpoena to the Board Secretariat and the Office of General Counsel.

E.         MEDIA ON CAMPUS                Table of Contents Y

1.         Access to Campuses                                            Table of Contents Y

Members of the news media may visit a school for a news story.  Although the District encourages cooperation with the news media, principals and administrators must take all reasonable steps to protect students and make certain that the media do not cause serious interruptions to the school, students and teachers. 

School administrators may require members of the news media to (1) register their presence on campus, (2) comply with other conditions for interviewing students and/or observing an event, and (3) leave the premises if their presence disrupts the peaceful conduct of the school.

When news media visit campus, please keep the following in mind:

·        Media representatives should be required to “sign in” at the front desk.[11]

·        If the administration believes that media presence will impair the educational process, school administrators have the authority to place reasonable time and place restrictions on the media.  For example, if an administrator believes that the presence of the media would distract students from classroom activities or hinder travel between class, an administrator can restrict the media to a particular area of the campus.

·        Any media representatives who go onto the school campus should be accompanied by an administrator.   

·        Students may be interviewed at school regarding student activities, but only in the presence of and with the approval of the school principal or Director of Communications and Media Relations.[12]

·        The administrator may refuse to allow the media to enter individual classrooms, and may ask the media to leave if it appears that the media are interfering with the peaceful conduct of the school’s educational activities.  For example, if a member of the media exhibits loud or violent behavior the administrator should ask the individual to leave.

2.         Parental Permission before Media Interviews                    Table of Contents Y

Schools cannot require written parental permission before allowing a willing student to be interviewed by the press.  Conversely, a student cannot be coerced to speak to the media if the student or the student’s parent does not wish the student to speak with the media.

3.         Answering Media Questions                        Table of Contents Y

Employee’s comments to the media can be used in court against the District and the employee.  Employees should remember that when they are interviewed they are representing the District as well as themselves.  If you choose to speak with the news media, please first call the Director of Communications and Media Relations.  You should also contact your local area superintendent and in most cases the Office of General Counsel.

When a school is involved in any emergency or crisis situation that is likely to be covered by the media, the school should contact the Director of Communications and Media Relations, advise the office of the situation and request the office’s assistance.  Information officers can be dispatched to schools in times of crisis.  The Office of Communications/Public Information is responsible for informing the public of the District’s educational programs and activities.[13]  This office also has primary responsibility for press and media coverage.[14]

Administrators can decline to talk to the media.  Media can be referred to the Director of Communications or the General Counsel’s office.

F.         DONATIONS AND FUNDRAISING                Table of Contents Y

1.      Donations Table of Contents Y

The rules relating to donations and fundraising, among other things, protect administrators and employees from claims of misappropriation of public funds.  Bulletin No. 66, Donations, sets forth the procedures schools must follow when receiving money through fundraising efforts or from charitable contributions.  Donations should always be accompanied with a receipt signed by the donor.  When accepting equipment, a machine or an appliance, you should make sure it is working safely before using it at the school site.  For donations of artworks, antiques or other valuables, please consult Bulletin Q-17, Protection of Valuable Works of Art.

2.      Fundraising                    Table of Contents Y

Schools are permitted to raise funds; however, they must do so in a way that does not violate California constitutional language requiring that the state (and by extension, the District) provide children with a “free” public education.  The District has establish guidelines governing the way fundraising may take place.  The guidelines differ depending on who is doing the fundraising—the schools, or student body or parent organizations.

a.         Schools

Schools are permitted to hold charitable fundraising for projects “initiated by the faculty and students. . . [which] serve an educational objective.”[15]  Schools wishing to hold this kind of fundraising campaign must obtain approval from their local district superintendents before starting the fundraising.[16]  Participation in the fundraising project must be voluntary; that is, it must be clear to parents, employees and others that they may participate in the activity, but that they are not required to do so. 

b.         Student Body Organizations/Approved Parent Groups

Student body organizations or approved parent groups (including parent-teacher associations) may also conduct fundraisers.  Contributions by students, parents and employees must be entirely voluntary.  Students must submit parent consent in writing in order to participate.  Elementary school students are not permitted to solicit on the street or door-to-door.  Secondary students under16 may not solicit on the street or door-to-door unless accompanied by an adult.[17]  Student body organization fundraisers on school property during school hours may not interfere with the normal conduct of the schools.[18]

In addition to the above, these rules apply to food sales :

·        Elementary schools – Food items may only be sold four (4) days per year and only after lunch.  The items may consist only of dessert items not sold through the food service program at that school during that school day.

·        Secondary schools – Student stores may only sell candy, popcorn and nuts during school hours.  Student body and parent organizations may only sell food items four (4) days per year.  The items sold cannot be the same as the items sold by the District in its food service program that day.

Further questions regarding fundraising activities and charitable contributions  should be addressed to your local district superintendent, the District Business Services Branch, or to the Office of the General Counsel.

G.        INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY                Table of Contents Y

The term intellectual property is used to describe the universe of legal rights individuals retain in things they create.  Intellectual property rights include, among others, copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade names.  The vast majority of intellectual property issues faced by District administrators concern copyrighted works.  Consequently, this section will focus on the law regarding copyrights.

A copyrighted work is an original work of authorship that can be read by an individual or a machine.  Common examples of copyrighted work include novels, movies and computer software.  A copyright is created in an original work as the work is created.  Generally, the creator of the work owns the copyright.  There is an exception to this general rule, however.  An employer owns the copyright to an original work created by an employee while the employee is performing his or her job.

The holder of a copyright owns the exclusive rights to reproduce the work, prepare new versions, publish or distribute copies of the work, publicly perform the work, and publicly display the work.  It is a violation (referred to as an infringement) to exercise any of those rights without the copyright holder’s permission. 

For example, assume that a high school purchases sufficient science textbooks for all of its 10th grade students at the beginning of the school year.  At the end of the first semester, several additional 10th grade students transfer to the high school, which cause a shortage of books.  It would be a violation of the publisher’s copyright if the school simply copied the science textbooks and gave them to new students.

Another example of infringement can be found in the area of computer software.  Generally, when schools purchase computer software (e.g. educational games, word-processing software, etc.) from a retailer, they are purchasing the right to load and use that software on one computer.  A copyright infringement occurs when the software is loaded on more than one computer.  Consequently, if the software is loaded on a home computer and an office computer or on two office computers, the purchaser of the software and the user or users of the second copy may be guilty of copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement could result in substantial personal liability.  The copyright holder can sue for a court order to stop the infringing activity, impound or destroy the infringing materials, or to award monetary damages, and attorneys fees and costs.

Consequently, when using copyrighted materials the following steps should be taken:

·        Identify the components of the work you would like to use.

·        Determine if the work is protected by copyright.

·        If protected, determine which of the owners exclusive rights you want to use.

·        Determine if the use is exempt from infringement liability.

·        If the use is not exempt, identify the owner of the work.

·        Obtain the rights to use the work.

There are two exemptions from infringement liability commonly applied in the school context: 1) the public performance exemption, and 2) the fair use exemption.

The public performance exemption under the copyright law allows the showing of audiovisual materials without specific permission from the copyright holder in nonprofit educational institutions under the following conditions (17 United States Code Section 110):

·        The materials are shown as part of the instructional program.

·        The materials are shown by students or instructors.

·        The materials are shown in a classroom or other school location devoted to instruction.

·        The materials are shown in a face-to-face setting.

·        The materials are shown only to students and educators.

·        Legitimate copies of the materials with copyright notices included are used.

Under the public performance exemption, a movie shown in the classroom as part of an instructional program would be exempt from infringement liability.  On the other hand, it could be difficult to argue that a movie shown in an auditorium is exempt from liability under the public performance exemption because a court could reasonably determine that auditoriums are not devoted to instruction and are not face-to-face settings.

Probably the most important, and least understood, exemption from liability for infringement is the “fair use” exemption. (17 United States Code section 107).  Examples of fair uses include criticism, comment, news reports, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, and research. When determining whether a use is a fair use one must consider:

·        The purpose and character of the use, including whether it is of a commercial nature or is for a nonprofit educational purpose;

·        The nature of the copyrighted work;

·        The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

·        The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Courts tend to favor non-profit educational uses, but the mere fact that the use is educational does not automatically create a fair use exemption.  The courts look to the nature of the work.  As a general rule, courts tend to find fair use more often for non-fiction work as opposed to works of fiction or imaginative works.  In addition, if a work is originally meant for an educational audience it is more difficult to use a fair use argument when the will be educational.

There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words or a percentage of a work, even a small portion of a work can capture its essence.  Generally, the smaller the portion of the original work that is used, the more likely fair use will apply.

The courts also consider whether the work is still in print.  If it is in print, the courts will consider whether a use is a substitute for the purchase of the work or could result in harm to the market potential for the work.

The fair use exemption will generally allow a teacher to copy a chapter test from a textbook for students to take home as homework.  On the other hand, copying the entire book for students to take home would probably not qualify as a fair use.    

H.        SCHOOL SITE COUNCILS                Table of Contents Y

As recently reiterated in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.), school sites receiving federal categorical funds must involve parents and other community stakeholders in program design at the school.  California law requires schools receiving state and federal categorical funds to form school site councils , which develop a written school plan for the site. (Education Code § 52852.)   At the District-wide level, under the direction of the Specially Funded & Parent/Community Programs Division, the District Advisory Committee  (“DAC”) and the District English Learner Advisory Committee (“DELAC”) provide assistance, advice and review of school plans.

Membership in a school site council must include the site principal, representatives of teachers and other on-site staff personnel, parents selected by parents, and, in secondary schools, students selected by other students at the school.  (Education Code § 52852.)  At the elementary level, there must be parity in the school site council’s composition between the principal, teacher and other school personnel group, on the one hand, and the parents and community members group, on the other. (Ibid.)  At the secondary level, the same parity must exist between school-based personnel and parents and community members of the school site council, the latter group also including student representatives from the school. (Ibid.)  Classroom teachers must constitute the majority of the school-based personnel on each school site council.  (Ibid.)

As discussed above, school site councils must develop an academic program and fiscal plan for the school site.  These school site plans must include the following:

·        Curricula, instructional strategies and materials responsive to individual needs and learning styles of each pupil;

·        Instructional and auxiliary services to meet the needs of non-English and limited-English speaking students; educationally disadvantaged students; gifted and talented students; and students with exceptional needs;

·        Staff development plan, consistent with the District’s plan and guidelines, for teachers, school personnel, paraprofessionals and volunteers;

·        On-going evaluation of the school’s educational program;

·        Expenditure of categorical funds, including EIA and Title I funds; and

·        Other activities and objectives established by the school site council.

Additionally, a school site with a poverty index of at least 40%, based on the annual District rankings, may become a “schoolwide” Title I school.  An advantage of becoming a “schoolwide” Title I school is that the school may combine federal, state and local funds in order to “upgrade the entire educational program” at the site.  (20 U.S.C. § 6314(a); 34 C.F.R. § 200.25(e) & 200.29.)   Generally, a full year of planning and implementation is required before an eligible school site may become “schoolwide”  (34 C.F.R. § 200.27(b).)   To become a schoolwide Title I school, the school site council must implement a comprehensive plan, in consultation with the District that does the following:                       

·        Describes how schoolwide reform strategies will be implemented, which includes a description of how all students, particularly those who are low-achieving or are at risk of not meeting the State’s standards, will be improved, and

 ·        Identifies federal, state and local resources and describes how these funds will be used to implement schoolwide reform.

I.          ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY                    Table of Contents Y

The District provides computer networks and Internet access for District employees and students. It has developed an acceptable use policy [19] that establishes guidelines for the use of the networks and Internet connection.  Every year employees and students who intend access the network and Internet must sign the policy and return it to the District.  The policy must also be signed by the parents or guardians of students under the age of 18.  To obtain Internet access students must also successfully complete the Student Internet Test and follow all procedures established at the school site.

District accounts can be used only as long as an individual is an employee or student of the District.  Those employees and students that have accounts are responsible for ensuring that they are used properly.  Accounts provided by the District can be used for educational and professional purposes only, except that employees can use accounts for personal reasons if the personal use is incidental and occurs during off duty work time.

Unacceptable uses of the accounts includes, but is not limited to, the sale or purchasing of an illegal substance, and transmitting, accessing, or downloading harmful information including, without limitation, child pornography.  Uses that can cause harm to others or their property are also unacceptable.  For exemple, deleting or damaging another persons e-mail or data is unacceptable as is the use of profane language.  Finally, the use of the accounts for commercial or political purposes is an unacceptable use.  The accounts cannot be used for buying and selling goods for financial gain.  It is a violation of the policy to solicit for religious purposes, lobby for political purposes, or solicit votes.    


VIII.          SCHOOL SAFETY PROCEDURES            Table of Contents Y


A.        ASSAULT AND BATTERY                Table of Contents Y

1.         General Rules                        Table of Contents Y

District employees have a reasonable responsibility to protect the safety of students while they are on school grounds .  An assault occurs when one threatens to hurt or attempts to hurt another person.  A battery occurs when one person hit, strike, slap, beat or touch with force one person of another and the action was unwanted.  A civil assault and battery may result in a lawsuit seeking money damages.  In contrast, criminal assault and/or battery is a crime, prosecuted by the state as an offense prohibited by the Penal Code, and conviction may result in imprisonment and an order requiring restitution.

The following are the steps to take in the event of an assault or battery:

·        Any employee or student who witnesses or suffers an assault or battery should report the incident immediately to the principal.

·        Any school employee should take immediate action to terminate the assault/battery, while considering safety to self and that of pupils at the scene.  When the assault/battery is being committed by a student, physical restraint should not exceed the minimum physical force necessary to contain the student.  Except for purposes of self-defense, the student should not be struck with an open hand, fist, or any instrument.

·        Once the assault or battery is terminated, determine whether medical care is required by those involved.

·        The principal should record the date, time, and nature of the incident, the names of the persons involved, and a description of the action taken.  Completion of an accident report may prove a practical method for collecting pertinent information.

·        Notify the Local Superintendent of the circumstances of the incident.

·        The victim may notify the police.  If a student is arrested, the parent should be notified immediately. 

·        School employees who are victims of an assault  or battery should be advised of their right to file a criminal complaint.

·        If the person committing the assault , battery and or assault is a student, he or she is subject to immediate suspension and possible expulsion under Education Code Section 48900(a).

·        If the assault involves a deadly weapon while on school premises, the principal must notify law enforcement authorities for immediate action.[20]

2.         Hazing                Table of Contents Y

Hazing is any act performed by students that causes or is likely to cause bodily danger, physical harm and personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to any fellow student.  In California, conspiring to or engaging in hazing is a misdemeanor.  School administrators and employees should attempt to prevent students from hazing activities.

B.      EXPLOSIVE OR DESTRUCTIVE DEVICE THREAT MANAGEMENT

An explosive is a substance or combination of substances, the primary purpose of which is a relatively instantaneous release of gas and heat.  A destructive device includes any bomb, grenade, explosive missile, or similar device, or any instrument launching device therefore.

1.         Campus Procedures                    Table of Contents Y

Health and Safety Code Section 12082 provides that the sale, gift, or delivery of explosives to persons under 21 years of age is unlawful.  Labor Code Section 2651 provides that the home manufacture of explosives, fireworks, and similar articles is unlawful.  Penal Code section 453(a) provides that possession of an explosive or device with intent to use it willfully to set fire to or burn a school is a crime.  Penal Code section 453(b) makes it a felony to possess, manufacture, or dispose of (i.e., give away, loan, sell, or transfer) a firebomb.

Following are the steps to take if you suspect that there is a possible explosive or destructive device threat on school grounds :

·        Alert key personnel necessary to carry out the predetermined school plan;

·        Record all information received;

·        Notify the School Police and local law enforcement;

·        Signal for immediate and total evacuation when the threat is imminent;

·        If directed by key personnel , direct a search for suspicious objects when the caller has indicated a specific building or location;

·        Warn against handling suspicious objects;

·        If a suspicious object is found, notify the Bomb Squad if police have not arrived;

·        Establish a danger zone to protect students and staff;

·        Shut off water, gas, and fuel lines leading to the danger zone;

·        Complete the bomb threat form appended to Office of Administrative Services Bulletin No. 18;

·        Call Public Information Unit for advice on handling media.

a.         False Reporting (Bomb Threats)

Penal Code Section 148.1(a) states that one who falsely reports that a bomb or other explosive has been placed or secreted in any public or private place is guilty of a crime.  Penal Code Section 148.1(b) makes it a crime to maliciously and falsely inform another that a bomb has been placed or secreted in any public or private place.

C.        BUSES            Table of Contents Y

Students transported in a school bus  are under the authority of, and responsible directly to, the driver of the bus.

California Administrative Code, Title 5, Section 14103 states, in part, "Pupils transported in a school bus  shall be under the authority of, and responsible directly to, the driver of the bus.  Continued disorderly conduct or persistent refusal to submit to the authority of the driver shall be sufficient reason for a pupil to be denied transportation." Thus, the driver is the responsible authority on the school bus .

In an effort to clarify the driver's authority, the Board of Education has enacted several Board Rules.  Collectively, these Board Rules define a standard of conduct for students on buses and explain the driver's disciplinary powers.

Board Rule 2255 states that pupils riding school buses shall observe the following rules: (a) remain seated, (b) refrain from loud conversation or boisterous conduct, (c) keep all parts of the body inside the bus , (d) eat no food on the bus , and (e) wear no athletic shoes equipped with cleats or spikes.  Board Rule 2256 states that a bus  driver may deny transportation to pupils for not more than three days for continued disorderly conduct or persistent refusal to submit to authority as provided in California Administrative Code, Title 5, Section 14103.  Board Rule 2257 states that students may be disciplined for misbehavior on buses when such misbehavior consists of continued refusal to comply with rules set forth in Board Rule 2255, any action that endangers the safety of other bus pupils, refusal to comply with the authority of the bus  driver, persistent minor offenses that distract the driver's attention from driving.

The following are recommended procedures when an administrator learns of a disturbance caused by a student on a school bus :

·        Secure disturbance report from driver;

·        Carefully review any disciplinary actions taken by driver;

·        Require strict adherence to bus  conduct rules;

·        Administer appropriate disciplinary action when necessary;

·        Notify parent of offenses requiring suspension of bus privileges; call parent conference;

·        Contact the School Police Department and Public Information Office when damage occurs;

·        Use Student Attendance and Adjustment referral services when necessary;

·        Advise Local Superintendent of suspension of bus privileges.

D.        FIGHTS            Table of Contents Y

The principal is responsible for the administration and supervision of the school (Administrative Code, Title 5, Section 5551) and the decision of whether to carry out a predetermined plan of action and/or seek assistance in the event of a fight rests with the principal.  Board policy dictates that every school administrator devise a plan of action to meet problems of disturbance  and disorder (see Office of Administrative Services Bulletin No. 20 (1978)) and provides information to assist the administrator in doing so.

If a fight occurs, the principal, school agent, other administrators, and certificated staff selected to assist have the responsibility to exercise the degree of physical control reasonably necessary to maintain proper order short of jeopardizing their own safety  and the safety of others (Education Code Section 44807).

If a teacher observes some pupils who seem about to engage in a fight and the circumstances are such that the teacher can prevent the act, Education Code Section 44807 authorizes the teacher to do so. The teacher should enforce the rules and regulations prescribed for schools (Education Code Section 44805).

The following are recommended procedures for handling fights:

The type of fight and number of persons involved serve as clues to the nature of action that should be taken.

·        Exercise discretion in order to obtain the broadest control reasonably possible under the circumstances;

·        Exercise any necessary physical control to maintain order;

·        Call for assistance when additional help is needed;

·        Call law enforcement agencies when internal campus control is impractical;

·        Direct students to desist and return to class, leave campus, or be subject to arrest;

·        Minimize involvement of additional students;

·        Use second warning to notify pupils of suspension and to leave campus;

·        Close the campus with the exception of one carefully controlled entrance/exit. Require those entering to give appropriate identification;

·        Designate an administrator to relay directives for help. In other than minor skirmishes, call Public Information Unit for assistance with the media;

·        Assign responsible staff members to receive and direct all telephone calls related to the emergency;

·        Secure P.A. system and assign the responsibility for its use to a staff member;

·        Notify teachers through the P.A. system  of the disturbance and use a prearranged code to give necessary instructions for the safety of other students;

·        If necessary, inform teachers of automatic extended periods to avoid additional involvement of students for student safety;

·        Call police to arrest those who remain;

·        In extreme circumstances, consider closing the school.  Consult with Local Superintendent prior to taking such action;

·        Provide first aid for injured and notify parents;

·        Direct teachers to identify and secure names of participants, victims, witnesses, and other pertinent information;

·        Where possible, interrogate participants and witnesses;

·        Consider suspension and/or expulsion ;

·        Contact parents and Local Superintendent;

·        Cooperate with the police in interviews of arrested students;

·        Notify parent if the student is arrested by police;

·        Prepare appropriate injury  reports; and

·        Organize, record, and file all evidence pertinent to the incident.

If the situation gets so out of hand that the educational program is completely disrupted and tensions materially affect the instructional program, the principal should notify the Local Superintendent that the school will be closed to protect the welfare of students in attendance . Confirmation of the principal's decision by the Local Superintendent will serve as the necessary preliminary step tantamount to the Superintendent's authority to direct the closing of any school whenever such closing appears necessary to insure the health or safety of the pupils. Such action shall be submitted to the Board for confirmation at its next meeting. Subsequent reopening of any school so closed shall be authorized when the Superintendent determines that the conditions which necessitated the closing have ceased to exist (Board Rule 1103).

a.         Disciplinary Action

Students who fight on or near school grounds  are subject to suspension, expulsion  and criminal action depending on the severity of injury or damage inflicted upon others. Such activity is contrary to the welfare and best interest of other students (Administrative Regulation 2262-5) if it obstructs or disrupts the educational program of the school or prevents a student, teacher, or other school authority from attending class or performing regular duties.

A principal has authority to suspend a student who (a) causes, attempts to cause, or threatens to cause physical injury  to another person, (b) possesses any firearm, knife, explosive or other dangerous object, (c) causes or attempts to cause damage to school property or otherwise willfully defies the valid authority of teachers, supervisors, administrators or other school personnel  engaged in the performance of their duties. (Education Code section 48900, Board Rule 1280.) A teacher may also suspend a student who commits any of the above acts from class for the day of suspension and the day following. A report must be made to the principal along with a request for a parent conference (Education Code section 48910).

b.         Fights Involving Outsiders

If outsiders or students from other schools are involved in a fight, the procedures to follow for controlling the disturbance remain the same, except that the Local Superintendent should notify principals of neighboring schools regarding the unlawful presence of their students on another campus.

c.         Fights Involving Racial Confrontation

When group disorders are accompanied by racial overtones or involve racial confrontations, school-community consultants from the Office of Compliance should be involved to help reduce tension and aid in a viable solution. The principal should arrange a meeting with student representatives, community leaders, and parent advisory groups to help identify the problems and get input for alternative solutions.

d.         Fights Occurring at Athletic Events/Extracurricular Activities

Disturbances occurring at athletic events  or extracurricular activities that extend beyond regular hours, such as fights that disrupt or obstruct an authorized activity, are subject to disciplinary measures (Administrative Regulations 2262-5).

Principles should have prearranged plans for dealing with disturbances at these activities.  If a fight or disturbance occurs at an extracurricular event, the principal should implement the prearranged plans and exercise best judgment in securing help from school police officers on duty, fellow administrators, and teachers to restore control of the situation.

If the fight or disturbance occurs or threatens to occur where a crowd  situation is likely to develop, such as in the grandstand or on the campus before, during or after athletic contests, the teacher should: (1) dispatch a student to get help from the principal; (2) dispatch a student to seek help from other teachers; (3) disperse nearby students exposed to the threat of injury; (4) urge the combatants to desist from their activity; and (5) maintain whatever control over the situation and the students that is reasonably possible under the circumstances.

e.  Injuries

To prepare for instances where a student cannot readily provide information necessary to secure parental consent for hospital care, etc., the school District requires that every student submit an emergency information card at the beginning of the school year.  (Refer to Student Attendance and Adjustment Services Division Bulletin No. 6 (1978).)

Students who are injured should be given first aid by the school nurse or other personnel authorized to give first aid. An ambulance  can be summoned if the nurse or other appropriate school official determines that an injury is sufficiently severe to require additional medical attention. The District is not responsible for the costs of the ambulance  or emergency hospital services.

Injuries inflicted upon minors by other than accidental means must be reported by designated school personnel. Those persons not so designated should notify the school administrator.

Administrative Regulation 2325 lists procedures to follow in case of serious accidents to pupils.

f.          Reporting Violations

If a fight occurs on or near school grounds  and results in serious injury , it is the duty of the chief school administrator to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities of Penal Code violations enumerated under Penal Code Section 245. (Education Code Section 48902.) School employees and supervisors have a duty to report an assault  by a pupil against an employee to the appropriate law enforcement authorities of the county or city (Education Code Section 44014).

Matters of serious misconduct may be referred to the Student Attendance and Adjustment Services Branch for consultation or legal action (Administrative Regulation 1208-4).  The school may document deviant behavior to help with the guidance of a pupil as well as for supporting evidence where suspension or expulsion may become necessary (Administrative Regulation 2265-2).

g.         Police Investigation  of Students - Investigation by Police of Pupils

In the event law enforcement officials are summoned on campus to assist in controlling a disturbance or to receive reports of code violations, they may be allowed to interview pupils in the presence of the principal or a teacher (Board Rule 1204) assuming they have jurisdiction over the area where the school is located. Every law enforcement official should present proper identification as a prerequisite to the interview.

If an arrest is made for an injury inflicted on another student or school employee or for damages sustained to school property, students may be taken from school by law enforcement officers when an arrest is made (Education Code Section 48906). Responsibility to notify parents of pupils taken from school by a law enforcement officer rests with the principal.  To protect the District, the school administrator should maintain a record of the school's efforts to reach the parent. Peace officers have the right to interview suspects or witnesses who are students while those students are in attendance at school (54 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 96, 97 (1971)). School personnel should generally not hinder properly identified law enforcement officers from carrying out their duties.

h.         Arrests

Whenever feasible, arrests should be handled by the local law enforcement agency or the school police officer assigned to serve the local school.

i.          Criminal Penalties for Students

This section deals with local school students who commit illegal acts; it does not refer to outsiders or students from other schools that might cause disturbances. Penal Code Section 626.8, 647, and 653g deal with the latter group. For the purposes of this section, whenever a fight  erupts, procedures for control remain the same regardless of who is involved.

If a student commits an assault on another with a deadly weapon or instrument or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury , Penal Code Section 245(a) states that such act is punishable by imprisonment  or fine or both. Additionally, if a student commits an assault on a police officer or fireman engaged in the performance of duties, it is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for four, six, or eight years (Penal Code Section 245(c)).

Possession of a deadly weapon by a student on or near the school campus is grounds for suspension or expulsion. If students use deadly weapons in a fight or have them in their possession, they are subject to alternative sanctions under criminal law.

Where two or more persons acting together disturb the public peace by using, threatening to use, or urging the use of force or violence, the misdemeanor of "riot " is committed (Penal Code Sections 44, 404.6, 405). Gang activity in which threats of violence are used will often constitute "riot " and the administrator should remind police that they can arrest gang members who act or threaten in concern for "riot ."

E.         TRESPASSING/LOITERING            Table of Contents Y

The District and its employees bear a reasonable responsibility  to keep the school safe from those who could harm students or other employees.  For this reason, all visitors to a school should sign in and obtain the permission of the school administrator before entering a school campus.[21]

Schools should post the following sign at the main entrance to the school:

 

WELCOME SCHOOL VISITORS

In order to protect the students and the integrity of the school facility, all school visitors  are required to enter through the main entrance and advise the principal of their presence and business.

 

No person shall visit or audit a classroom or other school activity, nor shall any person remain on school premises, without the approval of the principal or authorized representative. (L.A.U.S.D. Board Rule 1265)

 

It is unlawful for visitors  to remain on school grounds  in violation of these rules. (L.A.M.C. 63.94)

Students and others are prohibited from lingering about schools for the purpose or with the intent of perpetrating a criminal act.  If you observe someone trespassing or loitering, advise them to leave or call the school police or local law enforcement.

F.         PROPERTY DAMAGE OR VANDALISM             Table of Contents Y

Vandalism is the destruction or defacement  of property.  Vandalism costs the District an enormous amount of money each year. 

When minor property damage occurs, the principal should handle the matter with discretion and appropriate judgment.  In cases of major property damage or loss, the principal should notify the School Police Department, local police, and the Local District Superintendent immediately by telephone.  All losses should be reported immediately by telephone to the Risk Management Services  Branch Hotline (866) 322-5786.

If the destruction involves personal property  of school employees, they should be made aware of Board Rule 1672, which may allow for replacement or repair of damaged personal property, including a vehicle, caused by malicious acts.  Risk Management Services Branch, Employee Reimbursement Program should be contacted at (213) 241-3130.

Administrators should follow the following procedures when an administrator encounters vandalism on school grounds :

·        Report the matter to school police and/or local law enforcement and file a report;

·        Assess the extent of damage;

·        Resolve minor damage incidents locally;

·        Report the loss to Risk Management Services Branch (866) 322-5786;

·        Assist the police in their investigation;

·        Take appropriate disciplinary measures; and

·        Complete the “Notification of Loss” form and return it to Risk Management Services Branch.

a.         Discipline

The Education Code and Board Rule 2280 provide that a pupil may be suspended or recommended for expulsion when the principal determines that the pupil caused or attempted to cause damage to school property . Such action should be taken when other disciplinary methods fail to bring about proper conduct, or when the pupil's presence presents a danger to persons or property. Furthermore, Board Rule 1711 provides that willful damage to school property  is grounds for suspension or expulsion

b.         Civil Damages

The Government Code requires that the District take all practical and reasonable steps to recover civil damages for the negligent, willful, or unlawful damaging or taking of its property. Upon being informed by the principal of malicious destruction of property , the District will institute legal action for damages against identified responsible persons.

c.         Individual/Group Liability

When destruction of property occurs during an activity held under a permit for use of the school facilities, Board Rule 1315 provides that the person or group to whom the permit is issued shall be liable for such damage or loss.

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G.           PERSONAL INJURY[22]            Table of Contents Y

The safety of students and staff is the highest priority to the District.  Injuries and illnesses create personal loss to employees, students, and their families, and reduce the District’s ability to provide quality education. 

Site administrators have primary responsibility for providing a safe working and learning environment, and are accountable for compliance with applicable health and safety requirement.  All employees, from senior manager to first line supervisors, share the responsibility for the safety of students and staff.

Every employee is expected to work safely, adhere to safety  requirements, and immediately report hazards and accidents to their supervisors.  All District facilities are required to have an Illness and Injury Prevention Program (“IIPP”).  If you need assistance in preparing a plan, please contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (“OEHS”) at (213) 241-3199.  http://www.laschools.org/oehs

OEHS is responsible for advising appointed site administrators on regulatory requirements, and for conducting periodic site inspections to assess compliance with applicable standards. They assist site administrators in the preparation and implementation of the IIPP. All employees shall immediately report safety  hazards, and may do so in the following manner:

  • Direct reporting to immediate supervisor;

  • Presenting concerns or potential hazards at scheduled staff meetings;

  • Informing a member of the Safety Committee;

  • Informing the Site Administrator;

  • Reporting the condition to OEHS through either the hotline at (888) 455-4665 or the OEHS website at http://www.laschools.org/oehs; or

  • Documenting the hazard in writing by completing an “Employee Request for Correction of Safety Hazard.”

Accident Reporting Procedures

  1. Following an occupational injury or illness, the Site Administrator or designee will:

    1. Ensure that injured or ill personnel receive necessary first aid or medical attention .  Always involve a on site nurse;

    2. promptly notify the parent/guardian of an injury involving student;

    3. ensure proper and prompt reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses (refer to Reference Guide L-1[23])

    4. take necessary action to prevent recurrence of the injury or illness;

    5. investigate the accident, including inspection of the accident site and interview of employees and witnesses, to identity contributing factors and determine the causes(s) of the accident;

    6. contact the Risk Management Services Branch at (213) 241-3139;

    7. complete the “Accident Investigation Report” and forward a copy to OEHS; and

    8. follow-up with the injured employee.

     

  1. If medical treatment other than first aid is required, the Site Administrator will complete the “Workers Compensation Claim Forms” provided in Reference Guide No. L-1.

 

  1. Consistent with Cal/OSHA regulations, the Site Administrator will report within eight hours any serious injuries, illnesses or deaths to one of the Cal/OSHA offices.[24]

For purposes of reporting, a “serious injury” is defined as a death, amputation, permanent disfigurement, hospitalization for more than 24 hours for other than observation, or an incident resulting in multiple injuries requiring hospitalization. The following information will be required when reporting the injury :

·        Time, date description of accident, and nature of the injury;

·        Employer’s name, address, and telephone number;

·        Name and job title of person reporting;

·        Address of accident site;

·        Name of person to contact at accident site;

·        Name and address of injured employee(s); and

·        Location of injured employee(s).

If you receive a claim, subpoena or lawsuit from any source, direct it immediately to the Office of the General Counsel, Risk Management Services Branch at 333 South Beaudry Avenue, 20th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017.


IX.             MISCELLANEOUS            Table of Contents Y


A.        USE OF SCHOOL PROPERTY            Table of Contents Y

Rules governing the use of the school facilities  for meetings  come from two different sets of statutes.  If the intended user is an outside organization (at any kind of school), the rules are supplied by the California Civic Center Act, California Education Code § 38131 et seq.  If the intended user is a school club in a secondary school, the rules are supplied by the federal Equal Access Act of 1984, 20 U.S.C. § 4071. 

1.         Use of School Property as “Civic Center”            Table of Contents Y

The California Civic Center Act states that there is a “civic center” at every public school where various organizations formed for “recreational, educational, political, economic, artistic, or moral activities” may (1) engage in supervised recreational activities and (2) meet to discuss subjects and questions that pertain to the educational, political, economic, artistic, charitable, and moral interests of the citizens of the communities in which they reside. 

Under the Civic Center Act, the governing board of any school district may allow outside organizations to use school facilities .  If a school district chooses to give these groups permission to use the district’s facilities, the district may have the right to collect certain fees.  The Civic Center Act defines the circumstances under which the school district is authorized to collect a fee for use of the facilities, and the amount. 

By law, the school district remains liable for any injuries resulting from negligent ownership or maintenance of the property .  The group using the facility will be liable for any negligent use of the property.

By Board Rule 1301 and 1302, Los Angeles Unified School District authorizes the use of its school facilities on a non-discriminatory basis, consistent with the rules set out in the Civic Center Act, as long as (1) the intended use does not interfere with the primary function of the school, i.e., class work, (2) the group acts lawfully, and (3) the group opens its meetings to anyone.  Groups wishing to use school facilities should apply in writing to the District’s Civic Center Permit Office .  

2.         Use of Secondary School Property by School Clubs            Table of Contents Y

The 1984 Equal Access Act makes it unlawful for any public secondary school receiving federal financial assistance to withhold permission for use of its facilities during noninstructional time by certain student groups because of the religious, political, or philosophical content of speech. 

Bulletin No. N-15 (Rev.), Meetings of Student Groups , provides comprehensive guidelines for compliance with this federal legislation.  To request permission to use the facilities, students should submit a written request to the school principal, as shown on Attachment A to Bulletin No. N‑15 (Rev.).  Schools will be in compliance with the Equal Access Act if:

·        The meeting is voluntary and student-initiated;

·        The meeting takes place during noninstructional time;

·        No sponsor is required or provided;

·        Meetings are supervised by an adult staff person.  It is recommended that a certificated employee be assigned to supervise the meetings,  however, the staff member or certificated employee should be present strictly in a nonparticipatory capacity;

·        Nonschool persons do not direct, conduct, control or regularly attend the group meetings; and

·        Students do not use school facilities  to publish or otherwise disseminate matter that is obscene to minors, is libelous, incites students to commit unlawful acts, or expresses or advocates racial, ethnic, gender or religious prejudice.

Please refer any further questions regarding this topic to the Office of General Counsel.

 

B.        FIELD TRIP IMMUNITY            Table of Contents Y

Under California law, the District is immune from liability for injuries sustained by students during a non-mandatory field trip  or an excursion.  (Education Code Section 35330 emphasis added.)

To qualify as a non-mandatory field trip or excursion, the following guidelines must be followed:

·        Obtain written parental consent for each participating student on the District’s written parental consent form;

·        Confirm that the written parental consent form contains a provision providing that all persons participating in the field trip or excursion shall be deemed to have waived all rights against the District for injury, accident, illness, or death occurring during or by reason of the field trip or excursion;

·        Advise parents that while field trips are generally conducted during school hours, these activities are voluntary in nature, and a student’s non-participation in a field trip does affect the student’s grade or credit; and

·        Provide an alternative activity at the school site for those students who do not participate in the field trip.

It is recommended that transportation to field trip locations be provided by District buses.  If transportation is provided through the use of private vehicles driven by parents and/or students, the principal is responsible for ensuring that the parent and/or guardian for each student riding in the private vehicle completes the “Transportation Waiver” form, Attachment A to Bulletin No. 37.[25]  The principal is also responsible for ensuring that all parent and student drivers complete the “Private Automobile Driver’s Liability Insurance Certification” form, Attachment B to Bulletin No. 37.  If the student driver is under the age of 18 years old, the “Parent Authorization for Student to Drive a Private Vehicle” form, Attachment C to Bulletin No. 37, must be completed in lieu of the “Private Automobile Driver’s Liability Insurance Certification” form.  The District does not provide insurance coverage for parent and/or student drivers, and does not assume liability for the operation of vehicles by parents or students.

For further information regarding field trips, please refer to the Handbook for School Journeys/Field Trips, issued by the Division of Instruction, dated August 7, 1995.

C.        ETHICS IN EDUCATION            Table of Contents Y

The mission of the District ethics program is to improve District and employee performance by helping to create a District culture that develops trust and commitment within the District, and between the District and the community.

The District is firmly committed to complying with its legal and ethical obligations under the law.  As a result, the District expects all employees, at every level, to comply strictly as well.  District administrators are charged with the responsibility of making decisions that shape our school system and affect the children of Los Angeles.  There must be a commitment to providing open, honest, and accountable educational services to the students of the District.  Accordingly, an employee’s failure to fulfill his/her responsibilities under the District’s Code of Ethics may result in disciplinary action.  Therefore, it is crucial that all District administrators are conscious of the ethics rules and conflict of interest  laws. 

The Ethics Office provides the following services:

·        Provides informal and formal advice to District employees and Board members on ethical issues, conflicts of interest and District projects and policies.

·        Receives and acts on reports of possible ethics violations

·        Provides training on the Code of Ethics and ethical leadership.

·        Implements the District’s Code of Ethics, which includes the Employee Code of Ethics, the Contractor’s and Consultant’s Code and the Lobbyist Registration Code.

·        Implements the District’s Conflict of Interest Code and conducts state-required conflict of interest reporting by designated District employees. 

·        Conducts registration of lobbyists working to influence District actions.

Please contact the Ethics Office if you have questions regarding the District’s codes or specific situations involving conflicts of interest, financial disclosure, accepting gifts, misuse of District resources, political activity, use of confidential information and other ethics matters. 

If you have information about a possible violation, you may file a confidential complaint in writing or by telephone to either the Ethics Office or the Office of the Inspector General.   All employees that report improper governmental activities are protected by law from acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats or similar improper acts by the District or District employees. For details contact the Ethics Office www.lausd.k12.ca.us/lausd/offices/ethics.

D.        THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL        Table of Contents Y

The mission of the Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) is to promote integrity and credibility in the Los Angeles Unified School District by conducting audits and investigations to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse and to identify opportunities for improving efficiency and effectiveness.

1.         The OIG Organization                Table of Contents Y

The OIG consists of the following two offices:  (1) The Office of Audits, and (2) The Office of Investigations.  The Office of Audits conducts audits of District Programs and systems to evaluate the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of its operations and to determine if they are operating in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

a.         Office of Audits

The Office of Audits conducts planned and requested audits.  It also works with the Office of Investigations, as appropriate, in response to allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse. The OIG audits the following areas of the District: (i) policies, procedures, and practices; (ii) cost centers; (iii) information systems; (iv) major contracts; (v) organizational units; (vi) functions such as purchasing, finance, and accounting; and  (vii) transaction systems such as payroll and disbursements.  The results of audits are conveyed in written reports that contain recommendations to improve and enhance District programs, operations, internal controls, and financial management.  Through the audit reports, the OIG provides District management with recommendations to achieve cost savings, put funds to better use, and improve operational and financial performance.

b.         Office of Investigations

The Office of Investigations conducts investigations of alleged waste, fraud, and abuse or other illegal activities by District employees or contractors.  The majority of the investigations are initiated by the receipt of allegations of improper or illegal activity.  Examples of improper or illegal activity include theft of District property, embezzlement of funds, and fraudulent reporting of work hours or mileage reimbursement.  Every investigation is kept confidential. Confidential investigative reports are prepared and may be forwarded to District officials for administrative action, as to well as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.  The remaining workload of the Office of Investigation consists of proactive projects and special reviews designed to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

2.         Authority of the Inspector General            Table of Contents Y

The Inspector General reports directly to the Board of Education. The OIG Charter sets forth the Inspector General’s authority and responsibilities, and authorizes the OIG to audit and investigate any and all functions within the District.  Under the Charter, the OIG is not an authorized law enforcement agency.

Under Education Code Section 35400, the OIG is authorized to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and affirmations, take testimony and compel the production of information, documents, records, answers and other evidence that reasonably relate to an inquiry or investigation when the OIG has a reasonable suspicion that a law, regulation, rule or district policy has been violated or is being violated. 

Under Education Code Section 35401, the OIG is required to report illegal activity on a timely basis to the local district attorney or the Attorney General.  Every investigation must be kept confidential.

3.         Fraud Prevention                    Table of Contents Y

District Employees and private citizens who have knowledge of fraud, waste or other type of abuse in the District can contact the OIG by calling the Fraud Hotline or by written communication.  The OIG also conducts fraud awareness seminars for District employees.

4.         Contacting the Office of the Inspector                Table of Contents Y

Go to the Office of the Inspector General web site on the internet at www.lausd.k12.ca.us/lausd/offices/IG/ for details on how to contact the Inspector General’s Office and for information regarding the Fraud Hotline. 

At any time, principals may request that the OIG conduct an audit of their school’s financial operations or conduct an investigation of suspected criminal activity.  All requests can be submitted directly to the Inspector General.

For those who request anonymity when contacting the OIG, their identity will be kept confidential.  Additionally, all employees are protected by law from acts of reprisal, retaliation, threats or similar improper acts by the District or other District employees for having disclosed improper governmental activities.

5.         What to do if contacted by the Office of the Inspector General                Table of Contents Y

The Office of the Inspector General is authorized to conduct interviews, collect data and information, review records and documents related to all audits or investigations.  If you are contacted, it does not necessarily mean that you or your staff have been accused of wrongdoing or are going to be criticized.  It is very important that all information requested by the Office of the Inspector general is provided as quickly as possible, and all persons who are asked to be interviewed cooperate fully and truthfully. District Bulletin No. I-1, Response to Audit Findings and Recommendations, outlines the procedures for preparing and submitting responses to audit findings and recommendations issued by the Office of the Inspector General.  If you have any questions about the audit or investigation process, contact the Inspector General’s Office directly.



 

 

Absences, 1, 9

Acceptable use policy, 62

Accidents, 70, 74

Ambulance, 70

Arrests, 71

Assault, 23, 24, 25, 27, 63, 64, 70, 71

Athletic events, 69

Attendance Policy and Procedures for Elementary Schools. See Attendance

Audits, 79

Battery, 25, 27

Bid, 41

Bomb Threat, 65

Bus, 65, 66

Cal/OSHA, 75

Center Permit Office, 76

Charitable Contributions, 56, 58

Child Abuse, 1, 15, 16, 21

Clubs, 76

CMAS

California Multiple Award Schedule, 40

Collective Bargaining. See Union

Complaint, 19, 20, 45

Complaint Procedures, 19

Conflict of Interest, 78

Contracts, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 79

Contributions, 57

Copyright, 58, 59

Court Appearances, 9

Criminal Penalties, 71

Crowd, 69

DCFS. See Department of Children and Family Services

Deadly Weapon, 23

Defacement, 72

Department of Children and Family Services, 15, 16, 28

Disabled Students, 17

Disciplining Students, 1, 21

Discrimination, 1, 19

District Advisory Committee

DAC, 60

District attorney, 15

District English Learner Advisory Committee

DELAC, 60

Disturbance, 66, 67, 69, 70

Donations, 2, 56

Educational Equity Compliance, 21

Emergency Cards, 1, 7

Employee discipline, 52

Employee Relations, 43

English Language Learner, 25

Enrollment. See enroll, registration, reside

Equal Employment, 43

Ethics, 78

Exceptional Needs, 1, 25

Explosive, 64

Expulsion, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 63, 68, 70, 71, 73

Facilities, 36, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77

Family law, 1, 11

Fees

Student Fees, 34

Field Trip, 77

Fights, 23, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71

FMLA, 46

Food Sales, 57

Fraud, 3, 80

Fundraising, 56, 57, 58

Gifts, 37

Handicapped Children, 17

Harassment, 19, 20, 21, 43, 44, 45

Hazing, 64

Health Benefits, 47

Homeless Students, 1, 8

IDEA, 1, 17, 26

IEP, 18, 24, 26, 27

Immigration, 8

Individual Education Program. See IEP

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 17

Injury, 15, 25, 27, 46, 48, 49, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 77

Internet, 62

Jury Duty, 9

Law Enforcement, 1, 15, 16, 28

Media, 29, 55, 56, 65, 67

Medical Attention, 70, 74

Medical Certification, 47

Megan’s Law, 29

Mental Impairment. See Special Needs

Misdemeanor, 64, 71

Names, 1, 7

Narcotics, 23

Drugs, 24

News. See Media

Non-custodial., See parental access

Notice of Unsatisfactory Act/Service, 53

Office of Compliance, 69

Office of Environmental Health and Safety, 74

Office of the Inspector General, 79

P.A. System, 67

ParentGroups, 57

Parental Access, 1, 12

Parental Rights. See Family Law

Patriotic, 33

Peace officer. See Law Enforcement

Personnel, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 22, 28, 29, 35, 43, 61, 64, 68, 70, 71, 74

Pledge of Allegiance. See Patriotic

Police Investigation, 70

Political Conduct

Demonstrations, sit-ins, rallies. See Politics

Politics

Political Speech, 32

Pregnancy, 2, 46, 49, 50, 51, 52

Privacy, 8

Probation, 1, 29

Procurement Services. See Contracts

Professional Service Contracts, 38

Property, 14, 30, 36, 54, 57, 58, 62, 68, 70, 72, 73, 76, 80

Publications

Newspaper, Books, 32

Pupil Records, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, 28, 29

Purchase, 34, 35, 36, 37, 58, 60

Quarantine, 9

Registration, 1, 6, 79

Release of Students from School, 10

Religious matters, 33

RFP, 38, 39

Riot, 71

Risk Management Services, 72

Rodriguez consent decree, 35

Safety, 22, 34, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 74

School Facilities, 75

School grounds, 24, 28, 63, 64, 68, 70, 72

School site councils, 60

Schoolwide, 61

Searches

Metal Detector, 31

Random, 30

Section 504, 1, 16, 17, 24, 25, 26, See Special Needs

Seniority, 47

Sexual conduct, 43

Smoking, 30

Solicit, 57, 62

Special Needs, 1, 16

Student Attendance and Adjustment Services Branch, 70

Student body organizations, 57

Student Records., See pupil records

Student Sexual Harassment, 20

Student stores, 57

Students Transport, 65

Subpoena, 28, 29, 54, 75, 80

Supplies, 35, 36, 37

Suspension, 1, 21

Transfers, 1, 23

Trespassing and Loitering, 71

Truant, See Attendance

Uniform, 34

Union, 41, 42, 43

Vandalism, 72

Vendors, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41

Visitors, 28, 71, 72

Weapon, 27

Workers Compensation Claim Forms, 75


 

 


 

[1] District policy and procedures regarding registration and attendance may be found in Bulletin No.  Z – 54, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Elementary Schools and Bulletin No. Z – 55, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Secondary Schools.  District policy requires each school to have a formal written attendance plan.  All bulletins referenced in this manual are appended.  Users of this manual should ensure that the bulletins are current.

[2] Please refer to District Bulletin No. B-4, Names of Pupils for Purposes of School Records, for specific guidance on the District’s procedures

[3] For more detailed discussion regarding registration and attendance may be found in Bulletin No. Z-54, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Elementary Schools and Bulletin No. Z-55, Attendance Policy and Procedures for Secondary Schools.  District policy requires each school to have a formal written attendance plan.

[4] For example, a if student is caught smoking in a bathroom, it is reasonable for school officials to search a purse or backpack in the student’s possession; however, it would be unreasonable for school officials to search the student’s vehicle.

[5] Please refer to Bulletin No. DP-2, April 20, 1999, Guidelines for the Teaching About Religions, for specific guidance on the District’s procedures on the appropriate and necessary instructional role for this subject as well as religious observances.

[6] Education Code, Section 52720.

[7] Education Code, Section 48950.

[8] For more information concerning the District’s Policy on uniforms, please refer to Bulletin No. N-26, Student Dress Codes/Uniforms.

[9] “Regular” schools subject to consent decree requirements are “those schools which are part of the District’s regulation educational program” but does not include continuation, opportunity or special education schools. (Rodriguez consent decree, para. 13(b).)   

[10] Public projects include construction, reconstruction, erection, alteration, renovation, improvement, demolition, repair work (excluding maintenance work), and painting or repainting of any publicly owned, leased, or operated facility. public works, construction works, and construction services, but does not include maintenance work.  (Pub. Cont. Code Sec. 22002(c) & (d).) 

[11] Please refer to District Bulletin No. N-2 (Rev.), Visitors to School Campuses.

[12] Please refer to Board Rule 1204.

[13] Education Code § 35172(c).

[14] Board Rule 1401-1.

[15] Please refer to Board Rule 1255.

[16] Please refer to Board Rule 1256.

16 Please refer to Board Rule 1255.

[17] Please refer to Board Rule 2525.

[18] Education Code § 48932.

[19]   See, Bulletin K-19 (Rev.)

[20] Education Code sections 44014 and 48902.

[21] Board Rule 1265.

[22] Please refer to Injury & Illness Prevention Program booklet by OEHS No. 02-01 March 14, 2003

[23] Workers’ Compensation Injuries and Claims Procedures Reference Guide No. L-1 6-1-02

[24] See Safety Alert 03-03.  Check website for bulletins and forms  http://www.laschools.org/oehs

[25] Bulletin No. 37, Guidelines for Use of Privately Owned Vehicles on Authorized School District Business, contains the necessary forms to be completed by drivers of private vehicles who intend to transport students on field trips.