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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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Linda P
Linda P
7 years ago

The racist in this case is this poor excuse for a mother. She wanted her kid to be transferred to what she perceived as a better (i.e. whiter) school and sullied the whole district as a result. She was mad she wasn’t zoned for Chatsworth, mad that she got a black teacher, mad that her kid got lumped in with ‘poor’ renters…the list goes on. She published photos of the kids, outed special ed kids, showed a huge picture of her kid and posted a letter with her HOME ADDRESS!! Crazy much?

If you look for anything hard enough, you’re bound to find it. Sure, the district has some inconsistencies in following their policy and in this case it could have easily been handled by transferring classes as was offered. Instead this woman pulled the race card and wasted a ton of OUR money, so she deserves every bit of scorn that she gets and then some.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

If the District had handled this in an appropriate manner instead of spinning the facts in such a way that was insuting and deceiving to the taxpayer thenall this publicity would not have occurred, Place the blame where it belongs on the Distict not the mother who stood up for her child’s rights and . And why was the superintendent on You Tube ?

AcresDad
AcresDad
7 years ago

The initial argument this woman and two others had did not involve other kids at all!!! They had initially complained that their kids were put in the class because the teacher happened to be “BLACK”, and was the only minority teacher in the grade!! This whole spinoff was done by OCR!! Who through their investigation found the “Other Inconsistancies”!!

november
november
7 years ago

This is in reponse to post by Mom2:

Are the words “Jewish clique” and “tribe” yours? If they are, as they appear to be, then you’ve just outed yourself as a racist. And btw, there’s no such thing as a “Jewish Preschool.” You need to educate yourself and spare the rest of us from your ignorance and lack of tolerance.

DDT
DDT
7 years ago

As a mom at central in this grade I am LIVID that our entire grade’s racilabeled labeling and special needs’ statuses are now published by this mother for everyone to see. It is very easy for anyone with any knowledge of this school to know who is being described in the letter, especially as we are in a small town. So whatever the point was for this lawsuit is sullied by this woman not respecting her child’s peers who had nothing to do with creating this issue nor how the administration ultimately dealt out class placement. While probably available within the public domain, she just made it so much easier for everyone to view!

phyllis
phyllis
7 years ago

lneighbor, what the OCR found was that central may not always apply their procedures consistently (ie they listen to and grant parent requests which very unfortunately resulted in a disparate situation) They ALSO found thatnCentral is not discriminatory. You need to read the full OCR report. VERY sad this entire thing, all because a parent did not get the tranfer that she wanted for her kid. Walk through the halls of Central school and you will see the celebrations of diversity. My own family with 3 boys going thru this school are of Pakistani descent, dad grew up in Abbottabad Pak where OBL was hiding. AND my eldest is special needs. NEVER have we been discriminated against in any way. This whole thing is pure hogwash. Are thereproblems in this district? sure. but This for sure is NOT one of them. sad how she got the media vultures to chomp.

larchmontneighbor
larchmontneighbor
7 years ago

I am surprised at the vitriol directed at the parent here. The OCR letter makes clear that it found a disparate impact, which is a violation of federal civil rights law and the school district agreed to federal oversight. we should all want our schools to comply with civil rights laws. This parent did the entire district a favor by shining a light on a practice (even if unintentional) that hurts us all. I also find the comment about the “aggressive” Jewish parents to perpetuate offensive stereotypes.

Ugh
Ugh
7 years ago

As a “numbers guy” it always shocks me how little people actually understand them. It seems to me the issue is quite simple: nobody has ever stated the criteria for selection is purely objective or random, only that the subjective criteria used (which is aimed at ensuring that each student gets the best possible experience) in no way factors in race. If the outcome of that subjective process resulted in perfect racial diversity in each Kindergarten class, that would make me MORE suspicious that race was one of the criteria used to determine placement, since it would take an enormous co-incidence for a non-random process to result in perfect ethnic distribution. What a waste of precious resources for our district to have to deal with this circus.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

This takes the cake…people really will go to any lengths to go to Chatsworth!

What this article omitted was that this woman was offered another class at Central and turned it down. Why she thinks she will be treated any differently at another school after publishing her face in a mystery to me.

jjinla
jjinla
7 years ago

This woman should be tarred and feathered for publishing photos of her kid and his whole class in the paper. With a parent like that, he has no hope regardless of which class of school he attends. Good luck in Chatsworth, lady, since you had to sue your way in there. Your child will be the one that suffers, unfortunately. Nice work.

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