Questions Answered about Palihi’s Intervention and Suspension Policy

This was the video that started the concern for violence by high school kids.

(Editor’s note: the rules that apply to Palisades Charter High School Acceptable Behavior policy were posted by Dr. Pam Magee Executive Director/Principal and Adam Licea Assistant Principal/Discipline on Sunday, March 24.)

“We are writing to assure you that Pali High understands and shares the recent concerns about juvenile vandalism and aggressive behavior in the community. This communique provides information about campus safety resources and procedures that may be helpful for those who want to know more about school procedures.”

Magee and Licea also addressed questions from the March 19 Board meeting.

Q. How are acts of extreme aggression handled currently on campus? By acts of extreme aggression, we are referring to the video circulated last week of a group of boys filming an attack on a single boy.

A. Acts of extreme aggression, such as fights, are taken seriously on campus and are handled through a progressive discipline process. When a fight occurs, the school investigates the incident thoroughly to gather all relevant information, including participants, as well as the date and location of the altercation.

In situations where the fight took place off-campus, like the incident in February, the process might involve identifying the participants and obtaining any available evidence, such as videos. With this fight taking place off campus, involving some of our students and others unknown at that time, parents were notified, and incidents were logged into participants’ behavior records.

The school does not have the authority to expel students for acts outside of the school’s jurisdiction, which is limited to on-campus and school-related events at other locations. Pali High submits reports of campus incidents to the Los Angeles Police Department. Parents and community members should do the same for incidents occurring in the community.

Q. Can a copy of the “no violence policy” and the “no bully policy” be distributed to parents?

A. It can be accessed on page 66 of the PCHS Parent Student Handbook, which is on the school website.

Q. Is there a three-strike rule for violent behavior?

A. No. Addressing behavior issues reasonably and rationally is essential, especially in an educational setting. Implementing a three-strike rule for violent behavior might not be the most effective approach as it could inadvertently lead to over-punishment or discourage students from seeking help or changing their behavior. It is often more beneficial to focus on prevention, intervention, and providing support to address underlying issues contributing to the behavior.

Q. How are teachers currently supported when dealing with acts of aggression? What is the protocol for ensuring students’ safety in the classroom?

A. Teachers receive training in effective classroom management strategies to prevent and de-escalate conflicts. Secondly, they can seek assistance from the Dean’s Office or school security for immediate intervention and support in handling more severe incidents.

Class disruptions are addressed through progressive discipline.

Teachers call home to notify parents of behavior concerns and infractions (level one intervention). 2. Students are immediately removed from class for more serious offenses like fighting. 3.The Dean’s Office intervenes and assigns consequences, including but not limited to mediation, offense-related educational units, and suspension.

Q. What behavioral training is available to teachers and/or students? Does the school provide mandatory social-emotional learning to students? Can speakers be brought in to address social-emotional health/anti-violence? Perhaps a trauma-informed mental health speaker. This problem is more significant than one student’s and should be treated as such.

A. Thank you for this question; it is solution-based. PCHS has Pali Periods focusing on behavior, rules, expectations, and culture. We have culture chats with the student body each semester that clarify expectations and communicate resources available to students. As for speakers, we are very open to that idea. Pali High welcomes any suggestions for guest speakers and will help organize appropriate speaking engagement events.

Q. What are students’ rights in a self-defense situation? If acting in self-defense, are they also punished?

A. While self-defense is a recognized legal concept, in high schools, incidents of physical altercations are typically treated as mutual combat regardless of who initiated the confrontation. Consequently, both students involved in the altercation are likely to face consequences, with the severity of the consequences determined by factors such as the level of aggression exhibited by each student.

Q. Are there “see something, say something” drop boxes around campus for students unwilling to fill in a form? How are students made aware of ways to report issues they see?

A. That is a great idea. Currently, Pali High uses the Stopit App, but this is for more severe incidents that can be reported anonymously. We will investigate placing “see something, say something” drop boxes on campuses.

Q. Is there a consequence if students see something and do NOT say something?

A. No, students can speak or not, just as a student or a parent would have the option to press charges. It is an individual’s choice.

Q. How do we avoid creating more situations where a student is violent repeatedly in the future?

A. To avoid creating more situations where a student engages in repeated violence, it is crucial to address the underlying causes of the behavior and take proactive measures. Immediate steps can include implementing interventions such as counseling, behavior management plans, and conflict resolution training tailored to the individual needs of the student.

Additionally, informing parents and holding parents accountable for their child’s behavior through communication, involvement, and collaboration can reinforce the importance of addressing and modifying negative behaviors. When these strategies are ineffective, suspension and/or expulsion will be enforced. See the Code of Conduct in the PCHS Parent Student Handbook p.63.

Q. What is the monitoring policy when the school is aware of violent students?

A. When referring to “violent students,” the intention is to address any instances of physical aggression or behavior that may pose a safety concern within the school community. It is essential to recognize that students may make mistakes, and the goal is to support them in learning from those mistakes. Regular check-ins with students, parents, and administrators help ensure that issues are addressed promptly and that students receive the necessary guidance and intervention.

Q. How does the school ensure weapons are not brought to school if a student has indicated they have weapons?

A. The school employs various measures to ensure weapons are not brought to school. Students typically do not openly declare they possess weapons, but signs may include social media posts, word-of-mouth sharing, or anonymous tips. Upon receiving such information, the school notifies its school police officer, who may conduct a home assessment if the threat is deemed credible.

Searches are conducted legally with reasonable suspicion and without violating students’ rights.  In addition, Pali High has protocols in place and practices schoolwide responses for active intruder scenarios.

Q. Is there truth to the rumor that Pali is reluctant to expel violent students because it may impact their charter renewal?

A.  No, this is false. PCHS is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all students and will take appropriate disciplinary action when necessary, regardless of its impact on charter renewal.

Schools are expected to follow a restorative justice model, and the California dashboard tracks suspensions and expulsions. The PCHS charter specifies that the school follows the California Education Code, which protects students’ educational rights. Specific offenses warrant suspension. A recommendation for expulsion is based on the severity of the situation and usually requires multiple restorative measures. The term of a school expulsion is limited by law to a maximum of one year.

Q. Will the school bring a facilitator/conflict specialist to work with impacted kids and aggressors to create peace, including apologies?

A. Yes, the school seeks additional conflict mediation specialists to help resolve student conflicts.

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4 Responses to Questions Answered about Palihi’s Intervention and Suspension Policy

  1. Concerned Parent says:

    Treating someone equally at fault for defending themselves? Protecting EXTREMELY VIOLENT 3-strike offenders is over punishment?

    Our kids are not safe and if it was Pam Magee’s children getting beat up on that video she would be singing a different tune

    Sorry, Pam. This is unacceptable.Your management style no longer works. It’s time for you to go

  2. Sue says:

    From that letter it was clear to me that school officials are obligated to follow state guidelines regarding pupils. This is unlike a private school, which could expel a student promptly.

  3. Barbara XXXX says:

    Sue, thanks for staying on this issue. I just returned from CVS Palisades, and while there I asked a salesperson if they had problems with Pali students in the afternoon. “Oh yes,” she said, “especially on Fridays.” She told me that a sales person there was promoted to store manager and quit after 2 weeks in that position. This town has been taken over- what are we willing to do about it?

  4. Concerned Palisadian says:

    I do not find Mrs. Magee’s response to be satisfactory.

    One of the kids involved has had a string of recent incidents in town and is becoming notorious among Palisades teenagers: he has punched adults, filmed assaults and gotten visits from law enforcement. He seems to be making zero progress and – according to several kids – has publicly mocked adult efforts to rein in his behavior.

    At a certain point, one wonders why schools don’t treat children like this as special needs to follow state guidelines. Clearly this child isn’t functional and doesn’t belong in standard classrooms. It’s not fair to other pupils to have him remain enrolled at Pali.

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