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District Statement: Board of Education Takes Action in Corona Del Mar Student Discipline Cases
Posted 1/29/14

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education met Tuesday evening in closed session to consider student discipline.  Following closed session, Board President Karen Yelsey recited the following statement for the record:

In all student discipline cases, the Board’s main responsibility is to determine the appropriate disciplinary action allowed under Board policy and state law while protecting the involved student’s rights to privacy and due process.  As trustees, we are held to a higher standard of confidentiality than members of the public.  While individuals may publically comment on specific student discipline cases, we cannot.  As such, we cannot provide any specifics of these cases beyond what is shared in this statement, even if those details could clarify misinformation and rumors.

The Board met in closed session in compliance with Education Code section 35146 to consider the student discipline for students listed on the agenda, and identified by discipline file numbers

In accordance with the provisions of Education Code sections 48900 and 48918, the Board reviewed the expulsion matters before them, and took action regarding the discipline recommendations and agreements reached with these students and their parents.

The recommended discipline and agreements for these students were approved
 and the vote was as follows:
13-01-76: 4/3; 13-02-76: 6/1; 13-03-76: 7/0; 13-04-76: 4/3; 13-05-76: 7/0; 13-06-76: 7/0; 13-07-76: 4/3; 13-08-76: 7/0; 13-09-76: 7/0
13-10-76: 7/0; 13-11-76: 4/3

The Board’s action imposes discipline upon these students for the maximum allowed by the Education Code for what occurred at Corona del Mar High School.

Now that this has been read into the official record, let me say that the action by the Board upheld the recommendations of the principal and district administration.  The Board’s action also reflects our responsibility pursuant to Education Code to provide continued academic access for all students.   

The Board of Education has weighed each of the cases presented this evening on an individual basis and in careful detail.  We’ve focused on the cases for hours in closed session.  As a Board of Education, we are unanimous in our resolve to ensure the academic integrity of CDM and the District, as well as in delivering justice for the cases before us.  We came to different positions on some of the cases, reflecting the individual circumstances as we each saw them.  The final votes reflect the due consideration with which the Board has addressed the individual cases before us. 

It is our sincere hope that the speculations and rumors regarding student discipline matters can now be put to rest and for the sake of the school community and all involved, these student discipline matters are considered resolved.

While the current student discipline matters have concluded, the lingering effects of the hacking incident at Corona del Mar continue as part of an ongoing investigation.
The Newport Beach Police Department is currently seeking to interview the alleged private tutor for his involvement in the incident.   The District is currently involved in an intensive audit of all CdM teachers’ grade books so that we can ensure the integrity and accuracy of all posted grades.   The District has also taken preventative measures and is implementing a new notification system districtwide to flag grade changes.   

Inaccuracies continue to be shared in the public domain about access to student discipline records by college admission offices.  Student discipline records are not a part of a student’s regular transcript and are not included in the records sent to colleges.  If a college specifically requests a student’s discipline record, they would only be able to obtain it from the school district by receiving signed parent permission.

The District will continue to partner with Corona del Mar High School administration and staff to ensure that the rigor and educational excellence demonstrated by CdM’s graduates for decades is not tarnished.  Despite needing some time to wrestle with the disappointment of this unfortunate incident, we are confident that the school community will rise above this event.