A school site council shall
be established at each school
which participates in school-based
program coordination. The council
shall be composed of the principal
and representatives of: teachers
selected by teachers at the school;
other school personnel selected
by other school personnel at the
school; parents of pupils attending
the school selected by such
parents; and, in secondary schools,
pupils selected by pupils attending
the school.

At the elementary level the council
shall be constituted to ensure
parity between (a) the principal,
classroom teachers and other
school personnel; and (b) parents
or other community members
selected by parents.

At the secondary level the council
shall be constituted to ensure
parity between (a) the principal,
classroom teachers and other
school personnel; and (b) equal
numbers of parents, or other
community members selected by
parents, and pupils.

At both the elementary and
secondary levels, classroom
teachers shall comprise the majority
of persons represented under
category (a).

Existing schoolwide advisory groups
or school support groups may be
utilized as the schoolsite council if
those groups conform to this

The Superintendent of Public
Instruction shall provide several
examples of selection and
replacement procedures that may
be considered by schoolsite

An employee of a school who is
also a parent or guardian of a
pupil who attends a school other
than the school of the parent's or
guardian's employment, is not
disqualified by virtue of this
employment from serving as a
parent representative on the
schoolsite council established for
the school that his or her child or
ward attends.

California Education Code Section
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Education Report
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District tells dozens of parents to stay away
Letters say they must stay off campus for 14 days, with no appeal process

By Aaron Burgin
Friday, September 30, 2011

Dozens of San Diego Unified parents each year receive letters alerting them that their
behavior on campus has triggered a 14-day ban from their child’s school, which the
parent can’t appeal.

San Diego school officials said that state law empowers school principals to protect
students, teachers and staff from people who are deemed disruptive or threatening to
school affairs.

San Diego Unified, with an enrollment of 132,000, has issued 74 “stay-away” letters
since 2008.

Several other large school districts in a survey by The Watchdog — Sweetwater,
Poway, Vista, Grossmont, Oceanside, Escondido, Carlsbad and San Marcos — have
issued 18 letters total during that time period across their enrollment of 185,000.

Critics argue that without clear guidelines from administrators on use of the letters,
principals have license to intimidate detractors, who don’t have a chance to contest the
claims made.

Lauryn Rice and another parent, Lynne Bonenberger, who have children at Bay Park
Elementary School in Clairemont, attended a school site council meeting in January with
concerns. They wondered why council members were serving second two-year terms
without an election among parents.

“So, that brings me up to my point about it, I don’t want to rehash it, but a four-year-
term that would be...” Bonenberger said on an audiotape reviewed by The Watchdog.

“We have already said that will be discussed next week,” a council member interjects.

The exchange was the most strained moment during the two-hour meeting.

Rice and Bonenberger received a letter from Bay Park’s then-principal, Elizabeth
Ballard. The letter said that other parents complained about their behavior at this
meeting and others and said they would no longer attend meetings if they were in

“Please be forewarned,” Ballard wrote. “In the event you should repeat your behavior at
any future meetings... you will be immediately removed from the meeting. You may also
be subject to prosecution.”

The parents said they were shocked.

“I am a law-abiding citizen who has never been arrested, and here I was being
threatened with arrest for speaking my mind,” Rice said.

State Penal Code Section 626.4 allows school administrators to “withdraw consent” for
a person to enter campus after the person has “willfully disrupted the orderly operation
of such campus or facility.” Parents are allowed to drop off and pick up their children
from school during the stay-away period.

People who disobey the order can be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to fines
or jail time. Principals issue the missives for a range of actions, including profanity and

Two years ago, it was common for the letters to spell out specific offenses. In July 2008
at Herbert Ibarra Elementary, a stay-away letter said the parent “stole from the school
book fair and assaulted the principal.”

More recently, the letters have been more generic. A March 2011 letter to a parent at
Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary Magnet offered no details other than “willfully
disrupted the orderly operation of this school.”

The statute states that school officials cannot use the letter to inhibit free speech. Rice
said this is exactly what happened. Both Bonenberger and Rice asked Ballard or the
district retract the letter.

“We thought it was wrong for the district to endorse this action without even finding out
our side of the story,” said Bonenberger, who was president of her son’s parent-
teacher association. “It was disturbing to find out that her word was the final say.”
Stay-away letters
(Since 2008, ranked by
district size)

Numbers were not
available for Chula Vista
Elementary and Cajon
Valley schools.
on these two districts
for their secrecy.]

San Diego Unified: 74

Sweetwater Union: 3

Poway Unified: 0

Vista Unified: 4

Grossmont Union High: 3

Oceanside Unified: 1

Escondido Union High
School: 2

San Marcos Unified: 3

Carlsbad Unified: 2
Parents in schools
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