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School Board Meeting Wrap-Up

November 10, 2011

The following is from Tuesday's Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education meeting.

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Subcommittee formed for social host ordinance

Clerk Betsy Jenkins mentioned the formation of a subcommittee for a possible social host ordinance in Laguna Beach and pointed to Irvine as an example, which passed an ordinance that penalizes party hosts that serve alcohol to underage kids.

Jenkins said the subcommittee will formulate strategies on how to roll out the social host ordinance.

City Manager John Pietig told the Coastline Pilot last month that the city and the Police Department are looking into the possibilities and impacts of a social host ordinance. At the time he said he was not able to discuss details.

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Irvine's ordinance permits police to cite first-time offenders with fines up to $750, according to city documents.

A second violation in a 12-month period can cost as much as $1,500 and up to $3,000 for a third violation.

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Bullying is low at L.B. schools

Assistant Supt. Nancy Hubbell led a presentation on methods used to prevent and combat bullying at different grade levels.

The program the district uses, called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS), addresses prevention efforts, how to support children across the board and how to teach behavioral and social skills the same way academics are taught.

Principals and school officials from the different sites addressed the board and talked about the issues they're facing.

Thurston Middle School has found that offering positive, alternative activities has given kids the opportunity to divert their attention into something good such as noon sports, buddy clubs and grade-level luncheons.

El Morro Elementary has adopted the County Department of Education's "Stop-Walk-Talk" method.

Students are asked to stop and show that they are bothered, say how they're feeling and then leave the situation, seeking the help of an adult. They also tell children to be active witnesses, either by trying to intervene and help or by finding an adult.

Top of the World Elementary officials discovered that the majority of the bullying happened at the fourth-grade level and concentrated their efforts there, sending the students to conflict resolution classes. They've only had 11 total incidents of bullying. But that is still too many, Principal Ron LaMotte said.

Character Counts has been one way students are showing positive behavior, with the majority of kids excited about the program and ready to pay a compliment to a family, friend or staff member.

Clerk Betsy Jenkins congratulated the district on the measures it has taken and referred to her own child's experience with bullying. She commented that many parents told her "kids will be kids" and didn't advocate getting involved.

"We've come a long, long way," she said. "Thank you."

—Joanna Clay

Twitter: @joannaclay

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