February 28, 2007
Dear UTLA Chapter Chair and Co-Chair:
On February 27, the LAUSD School Board adopted a new uniform Districtwide discipline policy. UTLA, through our Discipline Committee, played a significant role in the development of this policy.
I'm enclosing a copy of the Consequences/School Response Reference guide, which provides an overview of the policy. The entire LAUSD bulletin will be printed in the next United Teacher. Please have a meeting with your members to discuss this new discipline policy.
Rest assured, this policy in no way interferes with your current rights to suspend students or refer them to the appropriate school office (see Article 24 of the UTLA-LAUSD contract). In addition, all LAUSD policy bulletins on discipline — including zero tolerance, suspension and expulsion, and violence prevention — are still in force. The UTLA Discipline Committee, which worked diligently for months with the District and parent groups such as CADRE (Community Asset Development Redefining Education), made sure your contractual rights were protected.
This policy codifies many of the things teachers already do regarding discipline, such as reinforcing appropriate behavior and providing early intervention for misconduct. It is designed to give you some flexibility on how to deal with non-serious matters and to create much-needed consistency in dealing with student misbehavior. The policy also still allows teachers, parents, and other stakeholders through local control entities like SDM, SBM, and LEARN councils to create discipline procedures tailored to the needs of their school.
UTLA has been pushing for a uniform districtwide discipline policy for years. This policy is a good start, but, as always, the devil is in the details, and we must make sure the policy rolls out in the most effective way possible. We are especially concerned that this policy not be interpreted as taking away your right to suspend or refer students. If that happens at your school, please email me immediately at UTLApresident@utla.net.