Suspended students at Lodi and Tokay high schools may serve their time on campus away from other students if a pilot program at Bear Creek and McNair high schools is successful.
In an administrative decision, the pilot program at the two North Stockton high schools will begin with the 2013-14 school year.
Although Lodi Unified School District trustees discussed the pros and cons of the program during Tuesday’s board meeting, no board action was taken. They merely listened to a report about how the program will be carried out.
The pilot program will be limited to students who do not pose a danger on campus, Dawn Vetica, assistant superintendent for secondary schools, told the school board on Tuesday.
Students eligible for serving their suspensions at school will include those who cause a major disruption or are defiant toward teachers, Vetica said. Students suspended for possessing a weapon will not be allowed to participate in the campus program. Instead, they will sent home to serve their suspension.
As for students who participate in a fight, it will be at the principal’s discretion depending on how serious the fight was whether the student can serve the suspension on-campus, Vetica said.
To separate suspended students from others at McNair and Bear Creek, those participting in the on-campus suspension program will likely report to school before or after the rest of the student body, she said.
The idea is for suspended students to continue learning and getting some behavioral intervention while serving the suspension, Vetica said.
Bear Creek biology teacher Jerry Myers told the board that the school had a similar program 13 or 14 years ago, but there were many problems that should be addressed before trying it again.
The first time Bear Creek tried on-campus suspensions, students who were sent to a separate classroom rarely did class assignments, got into more fights and showed up in front of the school early to hang out with their friends, Myers said. There was also a lot of parental opposition, and an assistant principal and security officer were needed to help the teacher overseeing the suspended students, just in case a fight broke out, he added.
Another problem, Myers said, was that many parents of suspended students blamed the administration for issuing the suspension and opposed the on-campus program, saying they’d rather have their children stay at home so that Lodi Unified wouldn’t get state funds for students attending school.
“We don’t want this to be a dumping ground,” Vetica said. “We want it to be controlled. We’ll be looking at models (in other districts) that work.”
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.