Re. "Students may get to stay in district," [Jan. 19]: Students caught cheating by allegedly hacking into teachers' computers should be expelled from the district.
I am very familiar with restorative justice — an alternative to expulsions — since I work for Alternative, Community and Correctional Schools and Services (ACCESS), the county's alternative educational program, which used to instruct Newport-Mesa Unified School District's expelled students.
ACCESS assisted these students to continue high school classes outside the district while completing counseling, community service and other requirements for return. Restorative justice virtually did away with that relationship since the district now keeps every student, and no consequences are given even for felony criminal activities.
Habitually truant students, kids released from juvenile custody and youths caught with drugs are going straight back to Newport-Mesa schools.
Many special-education and English learners who lack credits and who used to get one-on-one instruction — and whose parents don't write letters to the school board — now have no recourse but to fail in district schools because ACCESS referrals are few. These students will never make up enough credits to graduate from a district school. Who will speak for them?
If I sound bitter, I am, since I have served students in my hometown for 16 years and have been recently transferred to Santa Ana because the NMUSD is keeping all students. I urge the school board to revisit its expulsion policy since the alleged Corona del Mar High cheaters will learn no lesson from an interdistrict transfer.
The writer is a teacher with the ACCESS program.
City employees greatly appreciated
Before our city completely outsources itself inside out, I would like to say how much I appreciate our wonderful Balboa Branch Library — staff, services and building — and our loyal lifeguards, who keep an eye on all of us runners and swimmers.
And a thank you to our city refuse workers! They really took good care of us over the years.