After nearly six months of discussion, the Yosemite Unified School District board of trustees last week approved a limitation on the number of non-school person visits to campus clubs each year.
The new policy, adopted May 9, allows no more than four non-school people, or those not employed with the district, to visit any one meeting of a student group such as the Yosemite High Leos Club. A non-school person also cannot attend more than half any club’s visits each year.
The change follows long disputes over unlimited visits by non-school people, which arose in November when the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) held a “Huddle,” or meeting, at Rivergold Elementary School.
A parent filed a complaint with the district that alleged the meeting violated the 1984 federal Equal Access Act, as it was organized and led by adults within FCA, rather than students as mandated by the law. Other concerns included adults allegedly enticing students to join the meeting through free pizza and soda, and how some who didn’t attend were later ostracized.
FCA officials said those claims were false, and the group is meant to allow for positive faith-based expression without pressuring others. Leonard Kahn, assistant superintendent for YUSD, said all the parent’s concerns were addressed by the district to ensure no further potential conflicts.
In a board meeting March 14, YUSD trustees considered a policy change that would have allowed six visits by non-school persons to clubs in the 7th and 8th grades, and 18 such visits at the high school level each year. A majority of speakers at that meeting, nearly all in support of FCA, contended such a change restricted student rights and warned trustees about the possibility of litigation as a result. The proposed policy later died during an April 11 board meeting, with no motion for a vote.
Kahn said the district is confident with its new rule.
“The YUSD board and administration is thankful for all the public dialogue,” Kahn said. “YUSD is eager to continue the dialogue into future years in the hope that our policy may continue to evolve in accordance with our community’s needs and any and all applicable law.”