The Kern High School District is looking to make significant changes to a few of its policies, largely regarding student immigration status.
The district’s board of trustees is holding a special meeting on Wednesday to consider first readings of four district policies that have been updated as required by laws passed by the state last year. The meeting is at 8 a.m. in Conference Room A at the district office, 5801 Sundale Ave.
The district’s bullying policy will undergo the biggest change. If approved, the policy would require that students be educated about the negative impacts of bullying, discrimination and harassment due to immigration status, religious beliefs and other preferences.
The language regarding immigration status was added due to Assembly Bill 699, which requires that districts educate students regarding bullying people because of their “actual or perceived” status.
The other major addition is that the district would be required to provide training to teachers and other staff about their obligation to prevent student bullying, discrimination, intimidation and harassment.
It is the intention that staff learn about how to discuss bullying prevention strategies, identify signs of bullying and similar types of behavior, take action quickly when that behavior is seen and report it to the proper authorities, according to the policy.
The district said these changes were made to reflect guidelines that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued in relation to AB 699.
The district is also looking to approve changes to its policy regarding nondiscrimination in district programs and activities. A few of the proposed changes also relate to AB 699, such as that parents will be notified yearly of their child’s right to a free education regardless of immigration status or religious beliefs.
The board will also consider small amendments to the district’s policy regarding nondiscrimination and harassment. The change is essentially adding immigration status to the list of characteristics that the district says should be prohibited from bullying, discrimination, intimidation and harassment.
On a separate note, the board will lastly consider approving changes to the district’s policy relating to professional standards. These changes are not connected to AB 699 but rather an effort on the district’s part to make its codes of conduct more accessible to the public.
If the board approves the first readings, the revised policies will be up for final approval at the board’s regular June 25 meeting.