It is almost too easy to skewer the bureaucracy at a big school district like San Diego Unified. Easy, but nonetheless worthwhile. Teachers such as Tomas Morales, who I spoke to for my article today, complain that bureaucracy chews up their time and prevents them from spending more time planning lessons and serving kids.

“Time is always an issue. It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s the bureaucracy. The paperwork we have to deal with,” Morales said. “At the district level it seems like they don’t trust the teachers to do what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s like hiring a lawyer and then not trusting them to take you to trial.”

In that spirit, I am beginning an occasional series called “Obscure School Policies You Didn’t Know About, and Probably Will Never Have To.” Today’s policy is San Diego Unified K-4020, regarding the rental of school district facilities for bingo. It bans the use of school buildings, ground and furniture by any organization other than a nonprofit that directly supports the school where the bingo takes place.

Furthermore, the bingo “should not interfere or conflict with the educational or extracurricular programs,” and “should not be conducted in classrooms or offices.” Smoking and alcohol are also banned on campus. The nonprofits also “must provide adequate security and liability insurance.” Only the school board can waive this rule. (Which begs the question: Has it ever been waived?)

If you are deeply concerned by the infringement of bingo on your neighborhood school, you can read the full policy here.

Feel free to send me obscure school policies you turn up — from San Diego Unified or from any school district in the county — at


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