IMPROPER LUNCH DETENTION
March 24, 2014
To: Alvarado Principal
Cc: Ms. Pride- RUSD Board Member
Fr: Junior’s Dad
Re: Objection to Lunch Detention & Request to Stop Improper Punishment
1. Today after school, Junior told me that he just had been handed by the School a “lunch detention” tomorrow for being “tardy” 4 times within a trimester. I hereby object to such arbitrary and harmful punishment detrimental to the wellbeing of a growing child for reasons set forth below.
2. For some time I have been quite troubled by the arbitrary label of “Tardy” assigned by the school as long as a student is late regardless of the reasons causing such lateness. In fact, Junior should have been commended for his strong desire and volition of attending classes regardless of his illness on two prior occasions. I remember urging Junior to stay home due to a cold. Nevertheless, Junior overwhelmed me with his single-minded quest for studies; he wanted to go to school.
3. When I later got Tardy Notices for the above incidents from Alvarado, I found the Tardy Notices a product of a slot-machine operator, pedantic, arbitrary and bureaucratic without any concerns for substantive merits. Now, I feel compelled to put a stop to such arbitrary, abusive and harmful practice as may be prohibited by law. I have no objections to a proper punishment meted out in proportion to the alleged deviation, but not a “lunch detention” which is harmful to the health of any student, especially not for the arbitrary label contradicted by the merits.
4. Unfortunately, the School District has a tendency overlooking student rights, inflicting impermissible harm to students out of proportion. Please conduct a comprehensive review and remove any such violations. Thank you.
April 6, 2014
To: Mrs. Pride- RUSD Board Member
Cc: Alvarado Principal
Fr: Junior’s Dad
Re: The Aborted Lunch Detention
1. First, let me thank you both for being so receptive and helpful to my concerns. I am sorry for such a late reply, because I want to make sure that I have studied Alvarado’s Handbook regarding (i) tardy notices, and (ii) lunch detention.
2. After careful review of Alvarado’s handbook, I cannot find any legal basis for Alvarado to cite students with tardy notices or to punish students with lunch detentions as a result of four tardy notices. According to California Education Code, Sec. 51101, absent any prior written notice of any disciplinary rules to a parent, the school cannot punish any student without prior written notice of such rules, i.e., due process. I am bringing this to your attention, not that I want to make something out of nothing, but that I have personally witnessed many severe abuses by the school principal and teachers at Blandford–one of the primary reasons prompting me to run for a school board member so that I can put a stop to such illegal abuses. Also, Califonia Education Code, Sec. 51101, governs public schools; why should RUSD not comply with the law?
3. It is possible that many of the illegal punishments have been formulated by panjandrum-minded school personnel. They shall not be accepted and enforced like a Bible, notwithstanding the fact that many of them are well intended to discipline students. For example, the current tardy notice can sometimes wrongfully punish a student who has demonstrated extra desire to attend classes despite minor illness that might have caused minor lateness.
4. Therefore, I have two suggestions to make the tardy notice and related punishment for lunch detention, not only in compliance with the law, but in staying true to the notion of fairness and the underlying merits. The school should notify the parents in writing in future handbooks of such punishment and to give the parents a reasonable time of five business days to raise any objections for good cause on the record that may mitigate or avoid the slot-machine consequences.
5. In order to avoid any future confusion, the “Lunch Detention” should be re-termed as “After Lunch Detention”, especially given the fact that the “Nutrition Detention” at Alvarado is being enforced as sitting in a classroom during the entire recess. Had I known that the “Lunch Detention” was really meant for “After Launch Detention”, I might not have raised any objection, not that I agreed to such arbitrary punishment, but that the punishment did not violate the core wellbeing of a growing child.
6. As you may see from the school record, Junior is a low-keyed, good natured student, with commendable performance, winning ad hoc notations of merits from teachers from time to time. He is an Honor Student and a Matador of the Month for February, 2014, earning all A and A-’s, except one B for Computers.
7. Again, my hearty thanks for your continuing care, assistance and support,
Enclo.: Alvarado Handbook (2009-2010) downloaded April 6, 2014, from Alvarado’s website. This should have been updated.