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Vista USD |  BP  5131.5  Students

Vandalism And Graffiti   

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The Board of Trustees desires to enhance student learning by striving to provide an environment where students and staff can feel safe and secure and can take pride in their school. To that end, the Superintendent or designee shall develop strategies for preventing graffiti and vandalism on school grounds, including collaborating with local law enforcement and city and county officials, as appropriate, to help develop a coordinated response to graffiti and vandalism in the community.

It is the policy of the Board of Trustees to seek money damages from any individual, or the parent/guardian of a minor, in the amount of the damage for any act of vandalism committed or loss caused by that individual.

Every district employee shall report all damage to or loss of school property to the Superintendent or designee immediately after such damage or loss is discovered.

The Superintendent or designee shall conduct an investigation of any instance of loss of or damage to school property. Such investigation shall be carried out in cooperation with law enforcement officials when appropriate.

The Superintendent is authorized to offer a reward in any amount the Superintendent deems appropriate for information leading to the identification and apprehension of the person who damages or removes district property. Such reward shall not exceed the amount of $1,000.00. Rewards in excess of $1,000.00 must be authorized in advance by the Board of Trustees. Any person who has willfully damaged or removed district property shall be liable for the amount of any reward paid pursuant to this section and if the person is a minor, the parent or guardian shall also be liable for the amount. The reward shall be paid to the first person who provides sufficient information that leads to the identification and apprehension of the person or persons responsible for the damage or loss. If more than one informant is needed to identify the person(s) responsible, the reward shall be divided equally among the informants. The Superintendent will determine who is entitled to the reward and pay it after such identification and apprehension. The identity of the informant shall be considered confidential, and it will not be made public by the district unless required by law.

On completion of the investigation, identification of the person causing damage to or loss of school property, and determination of the cost of repair or replacement, the Superintendent and the district's legal counsel will take appropriate steps and legal action to recover such damages. The Superintendent's designee shall make a written demand on the individual, or the parent/guardian, in the amount of the damage for any act of vandalism or loss committed by that individual. If the damage is covered by an insurance policy and if time permits, the Superintendent or designee shall attempt to recover the damage prior to filing a claim with the insurance carrier. Otherwise the Superintendent will obtain a subrogation agreement from the carrier and proceed to recover the damages as above provided.

The parent/guardian of a minor shall be liable for all damages caused by: (1) A minor's willful misconduct that results in injury or death to any student or any person employed by or performing voluntary services for the district and (2) A minor who willfully cuts, defaces or otherwise injures, in any way, the real or personal property of the district, or the personal property of any school employee. The liability of the parent or guardian shall not exceed $10,000.00 or the maximum allowed by law, whichever is greater. The parent or guardian of a minor shall be liable to the district for the amount of any reward not exceeding $10,000.00, or the amount allowed by law, whichever is greater.

Any student, or the parent/guardian of any minor student, shall be held liable for all property belonging to the district or a district employee that has been damaged, destroyed, stolen or lent and not returned upon demand. After affording the student due process rights, the district may withhold the grades, diploma, and transcripts of the student responsible for the vandalism or theft until the student or the student's parent/guardian has paid for the damages.

1. A student shall be entitled to a hearing to determine whether the grades, diploma, and/or transcripts may be withheld. Such a hearing should be held within 30 school days of the date the demand is made for return of property belonging to the district or district employee or for payment of damaged, destroyed or stolen property of the district or district employee. The student shall be entitled to at least one postponement for a period of not more than 30 calendar days. Thereafter, any additional postponement may be granted at the discretion of the Board.

2. Written notice of the hearing shall be forwarded to the student at least 10 calendar days prior to the date of the hearing. The notice shall include: the date and place of the hearing; a statement of the specific facts and charges upon which the withholding of grades, diploma, and/or transcripts is based; a copy of the disciplinary rules of the district which relate to the alleged violation; and the opportunity for the student or the student's parent or guardian to appear in person or employ and be represented by counsel, to inspect and obtain copies of all documents to be used at the hearing, to confront and question all witnesses who testify at the hearing, to question all other evidence presented, and to present oral and documentary evidence on the student's behalf, including witnesses.

3. The Board shall conduct a hearing to consider the withholding of grades, diploma and/or transcripts of a student in a session closed to the public, unless the student requests, in writing, at least five days prior to the date of the hearing, that the hearing be conducted at a public meeting. Regardless of whether the hearing is conducted in a closed or public session, the Board may meet in closed session for the purpose of deliberating and determining if the grades, diploma and/or transcripts should be withheld. If the Board or administrative panel appointed under provision (4) to

conduct the hearing admits any other person to a closed deliberation session, the parent or guardian of the student, the student, and the counsel of the student shall also be allowed to attend the closed deliberations.

4. In lieu of conducting the hearing itself, the Board may appoint an impartial administrative panel of three or more certificated persons, none of whom shall be members of the Board or employed on the staff of the school in which the student is enrolled. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with all of the procedures established under this provision.

5. If the Board appoints an impartial administrative panel, within three school days following the hearing, the administrative panel shall determine whether to recommend to the Board the withholding of grades, diploma and/or transcripts of the student.

6. If the administrative panel recommends the withholding of grades, diploma and/or transcripts, findings of fact in support of the recommendation shall be prepared and submitted to the Board. All findings of fact and recommendations shall be based solely on the evidence adduced at the hearing. If the Board accepts the recommendation calling for the withholding, acceptance shall be based either upon a review of the findings of fact and upon the results of any supplementary hearing conducted pursuant to this section that the Board may order.

7. The decision of the board to withhold the grades, diploma, and/or transcripts shall be based upon substantial evidence relevant to the charges adduced at the hearing or hearings. Except as provided in this section, no evidence to withhold the grades, diploma and/or transcripts shall be based solely upon hearsay evidence. The Board or administrative panel may, upon a finding that good cause exists, determine that the disclosure of the identity of a witness and the testimony of that witness at the hearing would subject the witness to an unreasonable risk of harm. Upon this determination, the testimony of the witness may be presented at the hearing in the form of sworn declarations which shall be examined only by the Board or the administrative panel. Copies of these sworn declarations which are edited in such a manner as to delete the name and identity of the witness, shall be made available to the student.

8. A record of the hearing shall be made. The record may be maintained by any means, including electronic recording, so long as a reasonably accurate and complete written transcription of the proceedings can be made.

9. Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to the hearing, but relevant evidence may be admitted and given probative effect only if it is the kind of evidence upon which reasonable persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. A

decision of the Board to withhold the grades, diploma and/or transcripts shall be supported by substantial evidence showing that the student willfully cut, defaced or otherwise injured the real or personal property of the district or the personal property of a district employee or willfully failed to return on demand the property of the district or a district employee that was loaned to the student.

10. A decision of the Board whether to withhold the grades, diploma and/or transcripts shall be made within ten school days following the conclusion of the hearing, unless the student requests in writing that the decision be postponed. If the hearing is held by an administrative panel, or if the Board does not meet on a weekly basis, the Board shall make its decision within 40 school days after the demand for payment was made on the student, unless the student requests in writing that the decision be postponed.

11. When the minor and parent/guardian are unable to pay for any damages or the cost of non-returned items (upon a showing by certification of the parent/guardian that the parent/guardian cannot reasonably afford the cost), the district shall provide a program of voluntary work for the minor. Upon completion of the work, the student's grades, diploma and/or transcripts shall be released.

12. Any student of the district who commits an act of vandalism shall also be subject to disciplinary action by the district.

Legal Reference:

EDUCATION CODE

48900 Grounds for suspension or expulsion

48904 Willful misconduct, limit of liability of parent or guardian

48904.3 Withholding grades, diplomas, or transcripts of pupils causing property damage or injury

CIVIL CODE

51.7 Right to be free from violence

52.1 Discrimination liability

1714.1 Liability of parent or guardian for act of willful misconduct by a minor

GOVERNMENT CODE

53069.5 Reward for information

PENAL CODE

594.1 Aerosol containers of paint

594.2 Intent to commit vandalism or graffiti

594.6 Vandalism or graffiti, community service

640.5 Graffiti; facilities or vehicles of governmental entity

640.6 Graffiti

CODE OF REGULATIONS, TITLE 5

305 Student responsible for care of property

Management Resources:

WEB SITES

CSBA: http://www.csba.org

California Department of Education: http://www.cde.ca.gov

Policy VISTA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

adopted: December 9, 2010 Vista, California