Ian Anderson 5 p.m., Dec. 8
Grand Jury dings San Diego Unified for not having a policy in place to address adult-on-student bullying
School district has until August to respond to findings.
San Diego Unified School District isn't doing enough to prevent adults and teachers from bullying children, says a recently released report from the San Diego County Grand Jury. In fact, according to the Grand Jury the district doesn't even have a policy in place to address harassment or intimidation of a student by a teacher.
Since 2011, parents and other citizens have submitted complaints involving alleged inappropriate behavior and misconduct by an adult employed by the district. Yet despite the complaints, when push came to shove, the principal or the school district did little to stop the alleged bullying. To make matters harder on parents, the district or schools failed to provide a forum for them to lodge their complaints. And even of they did, Grand Jury members said there are no assurances that the panel hearing the complaints were free from conflict of interest.
Those issues, among others, were examined in an August 2011 investigation by the California Department of Education.
The agency later concluded that the district "failed to maintain an updated or implemented school safety plan by failing to provide child abuse procedures in the school safety plan.”
But despite the findings of the investigation, the Grand Jury says the district has done little to make the necessary changes.
Parents complained that [San Diego Unified School District] officials failed to have an open dialogue with them after submitting complaints on adult-to-child bullying leaving them uninformed about the status and resolution of their complaints. Many of these parents participated in School Site Safety Councils and PTA meetings to voice concerns about adult-to-child bullying and intimidation and complained that school officials did little to address their concerns. Some parents withdrew their children from certain schools when these issues escalated and were not adequately addressed or resolved to the parents’ satisfaction. It was also noted, in some cases, that SDUSD personnel involved in the appeal process might have a conflict of interest if they were in charge of reviewing their own decisions.
The Grand Jury gave three recommendations on how to solve the problem. They include:
Develop a policy to address adult-to-student bullying, harassment or intimidation, whether physical or emotional, by school district employees or volunteers. The policy should be added to the Administrative Procedures and School Site Safety Plans.
Revise the adult-to-student bullying, harassment or intimidation employee appeal and review procedures to forbid Area Superintendents or other administrators from reviewing their own original findings and recommendations.
Provide all complainants timely and continuing feedback as to the status of their complaints.
School district officials have until August 14 to respond to the recommendations.
Go here to read the full report:
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