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School Board Moves to Change Policies

September 21, 2000|KATIE COOPER

After hours of discussion and public comment at their monthly meeting Tuesday night, members of the school board said they plan to move forward with changes to their field trip and zero-tolerance policies.

The Oak Park Unified School District board undertook the policy review amid outcries over the suspensions of the coach and 18 members of the Oak Park High School football team after a midsummer drinking incident.

At the meeting, trustees instructed staff members to draw up a policy revision limiting a zero-tolerance expulsion rule to only the most serious offenses, such as possessing a firearm on campus or sexually assaulting a student.

Based on the current zero-tolerance policy, some parents had called for the football players' expulsion after they were caught drinking alcohol following a victory in a football tournament in Santa Ynez in July.

"We took a look at the policy with the intention of changing it," school board Vice President Jim Kalember said Wednesday. "It was developed in a harsher time."

The board also asked district staff members to propose a more detailed field trip policy that would spell out the requirements for adult supervision during off-campus excursions.

The current policy offers few details on the requirements of chaperons.

In July, the 18 football players did not have adult supervision at the time they were drinking.

The board will consider the proposed policy revision at its October meeting.

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