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Home Towns Larchmont *Read Your 100+ Comments*---Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

*Read Your 100+ Comments*—Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

Mamaroneck–

Update: theLoop received this letter from the parent in this case:

To the Editor:

 Recently, the U.S. Department of Education the Office of Civil Rights completed an investigation of the Central Elementary School in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and found segregation occurred involving innocent kindergarten children including my son.. The Mamaroneck UFSD is the school district in which Tim Geithner’s (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury) son just graduated from.  The school district hid the federal investigation and the results from the community and local politicians until today.  The principal and superintendent continue in their respective roles.  I have asked the Department of Education/OCR to continue the investigation of the other grades as well as the problem of segregation is not limited to the kindergarten grade.  Please find (HERE a copy of the letter to download)  that I wrote that initiated the investigation and the report from the Office of Civil Rights detailing their findings.

previous story:

The parent of a Kindergartener at Central Elementary School in Larchmont/Mamaroneck filed a complaint with the Dept. of Education claiming racial desegregation. The result? Depends who you ask.

See the report on LoHud.  Larchmont’s Lou Young filed this report for WCBS.

Then, the letter that came today from Mamaroneck School District, reporting the results of a U.S. Dept.of Education civil rights probe, that caught even many parents at Central Elementary School, where these events took place, by surprise:

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In the fall of 2011, two Kindergarten families from Central School raised concerns about the racial/ethnic make-up of a particular Kindergarten class. While the District’s class placement guidelines require classes to be balanced by factors unrelated to race or ethnicity, these parents questioned whether the school’s administration had used race/ethnicity as part of the placement process and made a complaint to the Board of Education that the school’s administration had discriminated against a particular group of students.

In response to this serious complaint, the Board of Education asked the administration to conduct a review of Central’s class placement procedures and report the findings. In early November, the administration confirmed that Kindergarten students at Central were assigned to classrooms following district guidelines, which balance classes by gender, birthdate, daycare/nursery school attended, and special needs unrelated to race or ethnicity. On November 10, 2011, Central Principal Carol Priore and Superintendent Robert Shaps met with Kindergarten parents to respond to the initial complaint in an open forum and publicly reassure parents of the effort, care, and objective guidelines used to organize elementary classrooms in all our elementary schools.

In December of 2011, a parent formally filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s New York City Office of Civil Rights (OCR) about this issue. The District cooperated in the investigation –providing extensive documentation — and organized a series of interviews between OCR officials, Kindergarten teachers, Principal Priore, and district administration to describe our placement process in detail. In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral.

Typically, OCR also seeks to ensure that districts implement procedures in a consistent manner in compliance with federal law, and, in this case, OCR raised concerns about the consistent application of our placement procedures. Although we believe that the District application of its procedures was entirely proper, the District voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement with OCR to address OCR’s concerns that we “ensure that class assignment is based upon the consistent application of uniform criteria that does not have the effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race or national origin.” We continue to believe that our class placement procedures promote rich learning environments for all our students.

Moving forward, we will continue to maintain our existing policy of making class placement decisions without regard to race or ethnicity, assign students based upon the consistent application of our placement procedures, and ensure that our written procedures are clear to parents, teachers, and students. As a school district, we value the rich diversity of our community, families, and staff and believe it is what makes our school district special.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools

Nancy Pierson
President, Board of Education

 

photo: Central School by Jacqueline Silberbush

151 COMMENTS

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Cinder
Cinder
7 years ago

TWO families complained…..not seven.

This was not a two year class – it was together for the 2011 – 2012 school year.

Both sets of parents claimed they did not want the classes re-distributed although initially one couple was hinting at just that – but they seemed to change their tune when they heard the response to that possibility from other families (both white and non-white)at the meeting at Central. Then one family left – to Chatsworth, cause you know, there are more white families there, and the other was offered a transfer to another kindergarten class at Central. They denied that offer stating that their kid was settled where he was and was doing fine. So, what’s the problem here? Some of us are still shaking our heads trying to figure that one out. The class wound up with more non-whites because race/ethnicity was not used as a criteria for placement – they’ve said it a hundred times and will continue to because that’s what happened. There was no intent to segregate students based on race. Should the district relook at their policy for placement so it does include race/ethnicity as a criteria? That’s the question that will now go before the policy board – and arriving at an answer will not be easy.

Editor
Editor
7 years ago

Story coming….that’s not quite accurate…..

jjinla
jjinla
7 years ago

I’m completely confused…what was the outcome of the meeting? No mention of the report and asking parents if they want to switch K classes that are 2-years long?

LOL…so much for that packed library.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

I watched tonight’s Board Meeting and I am puzzzled- 7 parents went to the District and complained. Then after their review of the situation the District/central school asked the parents what they wanted to do split the kindergarten or let it remain. So the majority won over the minority ? Also I believe this was a 2 year class , so why let it stay for 2 years – why not correct the problem at the end of the year if this was the case.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

removed. theloop removes posts containing personal attacks.

HalfHourBoardMeeting
HalfHourBoardMeeting
7 years ago

Do you honestly think a 1/2 hour meeting can fully address the issue. The deck is stacked. An address by Pierson and questions/comments presented by shills planted in the audience. The library will not even accommodate those wishing to attend. With the time allotted I calculate just enough time for 8-10 questions.

jjinla
jjinla
7 years ago

Seriously everyone…stop feeding the trolls here and they will move on. This last post doesn’t even deserve a response. If you have something to say, say it at the board meeting.

WakeUpCall
WakeUpCall
7 years ago

Jimenez is a true hero for showing the courage, the fortitude and perseverance to take on an inept administration that practices and condones racial/ethnic discrimination. How many of us would have advocated for our child? Most of us would probably have cowardly feared reprisals. Not Jimenez! She took on the administration and practically brought them to their knees. Look at their videos and you can see the stress in their faces, the bags under their eyes, and the strain in their voices. We have witnessed a squall move through with regard to the aftermath of the federal report, but I’m sure the eye of the storm looms on the horizon. I read there is a potential for another comprehensive federal investigation by OCR and maybe DOJ, and various state and local government agencies as well. We can only hope she doesn’t file a personal lawsuit against the school district….that would be the death knell to the school budget, school board, and the town. We need to look at the big picture…Priore must go for allowing this situation to occur; Shaps needs to go and the board needs to resign. The feds have fixed the situation by monitoring the school so history doesn’t repeat itself. Its only a matter of time before the segregation story makes prime time national news. Who would want to raise their children in a perceived racist community. Real estate sales would suffer. Taxes would rise to cover costs of litigation and a jury award. I could see the Supreme Court decision and case law called Jimenez vs Mamaroneck UFSD. Just think of all that negative publicity. The only positive note will be the wonderful lesson to be learned on the workings of a democracy. Jimenez will be an inspiration and legend to all!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

wow Phyllis…..so what your saying is your willing to accept whatever crumbs they’re willing to throw your way, even if they give you a separate and somewhat equal education. Just ceases to amaze me human nature….so you would have excepted the situation that Jimenez found her child in? And it was ok that they have segregated that kindergarten class for the last 2 years and the 2011-2012 was described as significant by the feds. And it was Ok to do this to 5 year olds?

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

Phyllis, don’t feed the trolls :-)

A troll is a common species on the internet. Properly done, trolling can almost be art form, but more often they’re lower forms of life, such as here; this is not art, it’s abusive and confrontational as you point out.

Add the stigma of anonymity and the sin is compounded by cowardice.

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