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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?


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.


Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools

Nancy Pierson
President, Board of Education


photo: Central School by Jacqueline Silberbush


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7 years ago

As a taxpayer, you should be more upset that, according to The Patch, this mother only brought this on when the other mother complaining was allowed to transfer to Chatsworth and she wasn’t.
Further, the Patch also says she now wants your tax dollars to pay for her son to now attend Scarsdale schools, which is even “richer” and “whiter” than Mamaroneck!
Several articles state that she was offered to select a class of her choice, but refused, demanding Chatsworth. Your tax dollars are paying for all the districts legal expenses & will now go to Scarsdale Schools, instead of Mamaroneck schools because she wants what the other mom got!

7 years ago

I never met the woman . I am a former Central Scchool parent and taxpayer who resents being told half truths by the district I have not made any comments about the publication of the yearbook pictures but have mainly addressed comments made that imply her complaint was not credible when in fact the OCR found credibility in her complaint The yearbook pictures and the validity of her complaint are two entirely different issues . I guess if I were making comments you approved of you would have no problem with me answering every comment. Having a strong opinion on this does not make me her or her best friend. The way this was positioned by the District makes me wonder what other distorted information I am being told. I do not approve of the way that it was handled . As for the pictures I do not feel that names and faces of minors should be published without parental consent. When I saw the news 4 or 2 the faces were blurred and unrecognizable .Apparently this must not have been the case elsewhere .

7 years ago

Xanthe – you must be either the mother who filed the complaint or a close friend. You seem to be the only one responding to every comment.
If you care so much about kids, and you are not the mother, why do you support her exposing all those children’s photos?
I agree with the other posts, I feel each parent whose child’s yearbook photo (names were shown) was used in the photo this mother posted, should look to sue this mother. Follow her lead!

7 years ago

This was a credible accusations since the OCR found in favor of the parent and not the District. They were not following their procedures which were not a problem . The problem was that they were not followed in a consistent and objective manner

7 years ago

Where do you get that it is not a credible accusation? OCR found that the procedures were race neutral but that they were applied inconsistently and subjectively./ There is now federal monitoring of placements in kindergarten at Central . The District set themselves up for this .

7 years ago

F.Y.I. – The OCR is obligated to take every accusation seriously, If a report is made, they must investigate it, that DOES NOT mean it was a credible accusation. Knowing this & having the OCR report state that the there was no intentional race issue found, speaks volumes about this Mother’s TRUE intentions.
Complaining about poor use of your tax dollars? Perhaps you also need to ask this mother what her real intentions are for pursuing the case to Washington if “won”. What is she plotting and what it would mean to your wallets?
As for the attorney agreeing with this mother… he’s paid to defend and agree with you… THAT’S HIS JOB… TO REPRESENT HIS CLIENT. If you have an attorney that publically disagrees with you, I think it would be wise to fire him!
Perhaps all the parents who children’s photos were unlawfully made public, faculty who’s reputations may have been compromised because of this mother displaying the yearbook and all the other ramifications her actions may have caused, should seek an attorney willing to represent them against this mother!
The school/district never released names, photos, etc. of people who weren’t directly effected by this. This mother, on her own merit, proudly posed with the yearbook, and then RE-POSTED the same picture & released a sensitive document when SHE wrote to the editor in response to a news report based on The superintendent’s message. I’m sure an attorney these parents would decide to get, would agree with those group of parents and be willing to represent them.

7 years ago

Thank-you WhoCleansUpSelfish for putting into writing what so many others have been feeling and talking about. This woman is arrogant, self-serving and obnoxious and she has handled this situation disgracefully. Let’s hope that your post will encourage others who have been so affected by this to express their own thoughts. Fortunately, I know there are some families of other children at Central who are not going to stand by and let her get away with the fact that she displayed photos of their children WITH their names revealed all over the internet. Talk about an infringement of rights. I do agree with her on one count – she is in the minority. But I’m not referring at all to race or ethnicity. She’s a minority because the vast majority of families at Central are proud of the diversity of the student population. It is viewed as a caring, child centered and tight knit community – staff and families alike. Sadly, she has not had time to experience this though because she spent last year making assumptions about kids’ race based on what they look like and what their last name is. Seriously? She and a “friend” actually called all the families in the class last fall to ask them “what they were”. Imagine getting that call as you’re finishing up dinner. I must admit that I would’t mind her being granted her request for a transfer but then again, I know that would be the wrong thing to do. After all, the state is pushing the anti-bullying curriculum this year. I guess Central will have to start with this parent.

7 years ago

This is wrong on so many levels. I have kids in the district, and I’ve never seen them group minorities like this. Obviously someone dropped the ball on this, but for this woman to insinuate that we’re putting minorities on the back of the bus still, well it’s sickening.

If I recall, some of the posters here send their kids to private school. Before judging, talk to the scores of parents that will defend this district’s inclusion policy. They found inconsistencies, yes…racism? Absolutely not.

This is a very small town. Why she thinks she’d be welcome at ANY school here at this point is perplexing. Just because she is racist doesn’t mean everyone else is.

7 years ago

Sorry I do not like the way the District handled this situation Saying only that their policies were found to be race neutral (true ) but leaving out that OCR found that they were applied inconsistetly and subjectively . The District would have swept the whole mess under the rug and did not count on all this publicity . What else is Dr Shaps and the Board spoon feeding the taxpayers? Bottomline her complaint was considered credible by OCR

7 years ago

Firstly, knowing Central and if your claiming “Hispanic Racism”, your son would have been placed in the other kindergarten class where the teacher is fluent in Spanish.
In reading the document, minorities were ANY non-white children, INCLUDING mixed-race, Asians, African Americans, Native Americans, the list goes on. Oddly enough, most of those parents did not agree with your opinions and wanted nothing to do with this
Secondly, the African American teacher has been a teacher for years at Central and this subject has never been an issue in other grades this person has taught. Furthermore. If you are claiming “segregation”, I’m sure you are aware that stating “‘black'” teacher” is a terribly demeaning remark to use, given this is the population of Americans who fought for that term to not be used. They are also the reason you can even use this as an excuse to have your child moved to another school, which was your true motivation for this entire thing.
You claim “Just look at the pictures, you can clearly see the disproportionate amount of minorities between the two classes.”.
Besides CLEARLY violating each of those children’s & faculty’s right to privacy (as I KNOW you did not have anyone’s consent to use their photos, and the yearbook is NOT a public document, it is meant for Central Families ONLY), YOU are now being a racist.
Are you stating that just by looking at a picture you can tell one’s ethnicity? That’s being prejudice (pre-judging). You are doing what you are accusing the school of doing, EXCEPT, the school has no photos of the incoming children, nor do they have information on their ethnicity, so who is really being the racist? The one who prejudges ethnicity based on photos, or the ones who are unaware of any heritage when placing children in classes & get accused of segregation because a parent want a different school that they are not zoned to attend? Why not just ask for a different class, if the class was your only issue and not being refused to be granted “out-of-zone” permission to attend Chatsworth School?
As for your comment about “Larchmont Acres East” being “poor renters”, again, you are being prejudice (pre-judging) in ASSUMING that people living in the acres east are poor. Many are seniors, city communters, small families, singles, etc. PREFER apartment living, enjoy being close to schools and shops, and given the rental costs there, people renting there are hardly “poor”.
Finally, I will be a “VOICE” for all the OTHER children of ANY race, because with you releasing the document about which race of children were held back, placed in classes, your showing photos of children without permission, you degrading the housing where many proud parents live and are happy; your 15 minutes of fame have led to reporters videotaping children on news channels without permission, publishing photos of children/faculty without permission (where even if they were taken down, you can still find them throughout the Internet.).
You have violated many privacy rights, civil rights, educational rights, special education rights, et cetera.
You claim that you have to be the “voice” for your child and do what is right, what are you teaching your child… Use your ethnicity and publicity to get whatever you want in life? Don’t care about anyone else’s privacy, pride, heritage, living, housing, whatever, just use whatever means you can to get what you want. It’s a disgrace.
While you are sensationalizing your case, have you considered the parents that are now concerned that their rights and their children’s rights were violated directly by your actions?
As you get what you want who will be the “voice” for the children who might now be teased for being “poor” because they live in the acres east, will now be teased for being a “minority” when perhaps they’re not, or a “majority” when perhaps they’re not, all because you showed photos and said, “You can seen the difference.”.
It’s a very small community and by you doing what you VOLUNTARILY did, almost everyone in Central, will know what children are being referenced and by using the yearbook, the community now knows what teachers, faculty and students were effected.
It’s sad, because perhaps if you had given Central a chance, you would’ve seen that Central is a warm, nurturing and caring school. It’s probably why you weren’t able to get supporters to respond to the media. You got an answer of “It sounds like discrimination” in response to the question, “When you hear of the difference in the numbers what does it sound like to you?” and a sound bite of “Parents need to be the voice of their children.” – question unknown. These were the only two quotes out of all the people, of varied races, they interviewed, and we’re obviously edited to get a more interesting story.
Prejudice on ANY level is wrong. It is disheartening when “racism” is used as a means to get what you want in life. There are true cases of racism that exist and will not be viewed with the intensity that they should be because someone, like you, uses it in such a manipulative manner.
If the investigation found anything significant, you would not have to be perusing your case to “Washington, DC” as you stated. Actions would’ve been taken and the ENTIRE district would have been put on review, since class placement procedures are generally a uniform format throughout a district.
Congratulations on getting what you want, but who is going to clean up the mess of all the innocent child victims you left behind, who weren’t even aware of what was going on, or that they were different… They were just enjoying learning and playing with their “FRIENDS”!
I’ve yet to hear a child at Central say “This is my black friend”, “This is my white friend” or “my friend who looks like a minority.”.
Strange… The one crying “segregation” used ALL these terms…

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