Government School Culture 101 – Minimum Legal Requirements

Government schools establish their policies, regulations and bylaws using the “minimum legal requirements” standard. Administrators in Beaumont Unified School District have often argued to parents questioning their actions “we have met the minimum legal requirements.”

As I have written in the past, I am trying to teach my kids they need to be guided by doing what is right, not just enough to get by.  I believe John Wooden, one of our greatest teachers, explained it best when he said:

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Whenever the administration, or its board members, offer changes to board policy or newly proposed policies that don’t follow the minimum legal requirement standard, it makes my antennae go up.

I know from past experience that Dr. Kayrell and his board members very seldom recommend any new board policies or changes in board policy without being able to point to other school districts that have put in place similar policy. They usually adopt another district’s policy word for word. When I first read the Code of Ethics policy they proposed, it seemed to be so poorly written I needed to find their source.

After an extensive online search I came to the following conclusions –

Very few California School Boards have Code of Ethic Policies and those that do, have no official process for censuring board members.

The policy being proposed is an exact copy of Yucaipa’s 35 year old policy however I couldn’t find any policy for censure. Yucaipa's Code of Ethics

Moreno Valley has a one page policy that appears to be more of an oath than a policy. They also lack a censure policy. Moreno Valley's Code of Ethics

The boards of education for Redlands, Banning, City of Riverside and Riverside County have no “Code of Ethics" policies.

When I searched for censure polices and processes, I was unable to find any in place in California school districts, there are many in place in New Jersey's schools. Dr. Kayrell and Mrs. Lara may be breaking new ground here but I’m not sure New Jersey is the ethical model we want to follow.

I realize my efforts to raise awareness regarding the code of ethics policy the district is proposing are futile. The three board members who have supported more than 95% of the administration’s policies and actions will probably once again fall in line on this one. I am trying to show my kids that I believe “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”