Education advocacy group holds forum to provide an update on KHSD’s suspensions, expulsions and school climate

January 10, 2019 /

The Kern Education Justice Collaborative invites the public to attend a community forum to learn about the Kern High School District’s policies and practices.

KEJC will have a number of presentations that cover topics such as Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS), the district’s hiring and training methods and the school climate.

“(The forum) is going to be incredibly educational,” said Rebecca Buckley-Stein, an attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA). “They are going to get a lot of information about what’s happening at the school, and that can be really valuable if they have family members at school.”

KEJC is holding the forum two weeks before the district’s fourth legally mandated community forum, which is part of the terms of a $670,000 settlement agreement the district entered into in 2017 after more than 20 plaintiffs accused KHSD of disproportionately suspending and expelling Latino and African American students.

KEJC will provide an update and overview of what has happened since the settlement of lawsuit. The organization will have an in-depth presentation on data that goes over suspensions, expulsions and school climate within KHSD.

“We will give a presentation on what that data shows and do a more comprehensive overview,” said Buckley-Stein. “We analyzed the data we have and are going to give a big picture overview.”

“I think the data is indicative of what’s going on in the schools,” she continued.

There will also be a presentation on PBIS and another on the behavior matrix, which is a way to standardize responses to student behaviors, said Buckley-Stein. The matrix tells schools which responses are appropriate to which behaviors.

“(The matrix) is supposed to create a sense of equity,” Buckley-Stein said. “No matter your gender, race or socioeconomic, you will not be disciplined based on those factors.”

The organization will have another presentation on the racial diversity of staff within the district and the school climate surveys.

The forum is also a time for the community to give feedback and share their story.

“The forum is really important because many lawyers that are involved in lawsuit will be present,” Buckley-Stein said. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to come and tell us what’s happening so we can better serve the community. We really value getting that kind of input.”

The forum begins at 6 p.m. on  Jan. 17 at the Friendship Hall at Mill Creek Christian Church, 1660 S St. Food and refreshments will be available. There will also be raffle prizes and interpreters present.

KHSD’s mandatory community forum is at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 at West High, 1200 New Stine Road.