Sneak Preview: Calif. To Boost Review of Complaints at LEAs

September 27, 2013 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) California Department of Education officials plan to expand their monitoring of local educational agencies within the state to investigate complaints about LEAs’ compliance with state school safety and discrimination laws. A recent audit by the Office of California State Auditor’s found that LEAs were not using data effectively to prevent discrimination, harassment and bullying. In addition, CDE had its own lapses in LEA oversight.

Under various federal and state laws, public schools are required to provide students equal educational opportunities by combating racism, sexism and other forms of bias in schools. One of the key laws designed to protect California students against discrimination and harassment while at school or school-sponsored activities is the state’s School Safety Violence Prevention Strategy Program. Under the program, CDE is authorized to award competitive grants to LEAs serving students from kindergarten through seventh grade that have developed school violence prevention plans and meet other criteria.

The California Safe Place to Learn Act, established in 2008, requires CDE to assess whether LEAs have adopted policies in compliance with anti-discrimination laws. CSA found that while most LEAs have implemented policies and programs to comply with state laws regarding discrimination, harassment and bullying, the LEAs it reviewed did not use readily available data — such as survey data, student behavior data or complaint logs — to determine the effectiveness of their efforts to prevent discrimination.

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