Visalia Unified is the latest central San Joaquin Valley district to face criticism for what teachers say are lax discipline policies that lead to disruptive – and sometimes violent – classrooms.
At a school board meeting Tuesday, teachers shared stories of students “kicking, screaming and hitting” others but not facing suspension or expulsion because of the district’s “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports” model, the Visalia Times-Delta reported.
The policy is in line with restorative justice practices across the country that aim to get students the behavioral intervention they need without kicking them out of school.
Fresno teachers have also complained about such programs, saying that students believe there are no consequences to misbehavior.
Last year, a majority of teachers at McLane High School signed a petition demanding a stricter and more consistent discipline policy, saying the tactics were backfiring and leading to more disruptions.
In 2015, The Bee did an Eye on Education series about teachers’ concerns that school administrators were pressured to decrease the number of suspensions and expulsions, but that problems inside the classroom were not being fixed.