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Hoping to end a recent rash of loud, cuss-filled coach-bashing at Santa Barbara High School football games, school officials have begun filming the stands at Friday-night games and have beefed up staff presence in the crowd. With the Dons mired in a season-long losing streak, a few fans, according to Principal Paul Turnbull, have begun a campaign against new head coach Will Gonzales. According to Turnbull, the campaign – which has also included emails and phone calls – seeks to unfairly paint Gonzales, who was formerly head coach at archrival San Marcos High, as a “monster.” After two fans reportedly told Gonzales they would slash his throat if they saw him in public, restraining orders were filed and the school adopted a zero-tolerance approach to all inappropriate catcalls.

During the latter half of an exceptionally late Santa Barbara School Board meeting last week, the board punted a final decision on a planned revamp of their expulsion process, pending more feedback from community and staff. Boardmembers seemed concerned with a proposed change that would make it more difficult for students to appeal expulsions, and would empower the board to outright deny a student’s right to appeal. The policy is being revamped after boardmembers expressed distress several months ago with the amount of time they were spending dealing with expulsions and the one-sided nature of the hearings.

About 100 students held a sit-in protest at San Marcos High School last week to support teachers who are at a standstill in their contract negotiations with the district. Around 2 p.m. on Friday, the students gathered at the main office entrance, where they remained until school authorities informed them that they could face truancy and/or possible arrests if they continued to block hallways and fire exits.

A Carpinteria Unified School District advisory board officially recommended that the district close down Main Elementary School, one of the district’s three elementary facilities. Though the school board approved the controversial closure with a 3-2 vote earlier this year, the specific school to be closed was uncertain until last week. The idea of a closure has been met with fierce opposition by some teachers and families, and has been a main issue in the race for two available seats on the Board of Education. Adding more fuel to the controversy is the new contract for Carpinteria teachers, which stipulates an additional 2 percent raise in July 2007 only if a school gets closed.

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