Resolve the Conflicts

Recommendation 2

Re-evaluate, update, and enforce relevant District policies.

For the District to proactively address intergroup conflicts, it must have uniform, system-wide policies and procedures that are communicated effectively and implemented consistently. This requires the District to provide language interpretation and translation services at every stage.

Some significant District policies already exist. The District acknowledged the importance of promoting intergroup relationships when it adopted its policy on "Multiracial-Multicultural-Gender Education," known as Policy 102, in 1994, and Policy 248 on "Unlawful Harassment"2 more recently on September 10, 2010. It is not enough, however, to have such stand-alone policies.

2.1 The tenets of District Policies 102 and 248 should be embedded into all District policies, procedures, and programs relating to school climate, school discipline, and bullying.
2.2 Policy No. 248 should be amended to provide: (1) an appeal procedure for parties to request a formal change to any official decision; (2) an additional complaint procedure in the event that the school or the District fails to investigate a complaint of harassment or fails to document the outcome of the investigation; (3) an explicit description of the interpretation and translation services available and recognition of language access as a legal mandate.
2.3 Multicultural education, including racial and ethnic studies and dialogue around intergroup conflicts, should be incorporated into the District-wide curricula.
2.4 Policies should be implemented for constructive discipline that is commensurate to the conduct and helps offenders to understand and repair the impact of their conduct. Specifically, the District should consider abandoning the zero-tolerance disciplinary policy and, at the same time, amplify efforts to institute programs that include positive behavior support, peer mediation, and restorative justice.
2.5 In the aftermath of incidents of intergroup conflicts, the District and school personnel should maintain open lines of communication, listen attentively to students (both victims and offenders) and their parents, promote dialogue, and impose a discipline program that is corrective rather than solely punitive.
2.6 Identify the individual at the District who is to act as the coordinator to strengthen intergroup harmony and coordinate all activities relevant to this report.