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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

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The Central Rainbow
The Central Rainbow
7 years ago

Central has had in place for MANY years a Latino PTA, a bilingual psychologist, bilingual social worker, bilingual teachers, aides, and given services/donations galore to this population. An ADDITIONAL Welcome breakfast is given JUST FOR SPANISH SPEAKING FAMILIES. They parent programs… IN SPANISH, EVERY flyer/newsletter that goes home is in SPANISH too. The PTA at Central had a language lunch program for kids to learn Spanish.
CENTRAL SCHOOL HAS FOOD DRIVES FTBO- THE CAP CENTER. THEY HAVE SHOE DRIVES, THEY DONATE TO THE SHARING SHELF, THEY GIVE OUT STOP & SHOP FOOD CARDS SO THESE FAMILIES CAN BUY FOOD WHEN THE CAP CENTER ISN’T OPENED & THEY NEED FOOD, TEACHERS EACH ADOPT A DIFFERENT SCHOOL FAMILIES IN NEED DURING HOLIDAYS & BUY TOYS FOR THE FAMILY SO THE CHILD(REN) WILL HAVE TOYS TO OPEN ON THEIR HOLIDAY….BUT THEY’RE NOT WORKING FOR MINORITIES & THE POOR? You can’t hold your hand out and then slap us with it afterwards.
It’s disgusting when someone takes something as serious as racial discrimination and uses it for personal gain.
Also, READ THE FULL OCR REPORT before you make racial assumptions!!
Other news media are reporting that Latino communities struggle with building bridges in this community. When you accept help from someone over and over and then say they hurt you, YOU are tearing down the bridge. This is how you loose/don’t gain the support you had or would’ve had.
Call it what it is… A personal gain case, NOT a discrimination case!
If she cares so much about children as she said, why use children’s photos and NAMES to subject them to possibly harassment… PERSONAL GAIN!
If she did not refuse a different class, if she did not file a complaint ONLY AFTER another “latino” mother was granted Chatsworth & she wasn’t, if she and her friends did not call parents in the class asking them their ethnicity (another illegal act), & if it weren’t for the fact that she is now taking it to Washington, because the district won’t PAY for her child to go to Scarsdale Schools, then perhaps I would find her more credible.
Discrimination is disgusting in this day and age, but using it to get what someone else has in life is tragic! It makes people judge the credibility and motives behind true discrimination cases & that’s scary.
Also, she’s trying to spin it to be a “Latino” issue, there were many other ethnicities that this involved.
Central is a LOVING family that is TRULY is for EVERYONE. I guess there has to always be one person in every family that only cares for themselves. Stand strong Central. You KNOW this is not who you are & that’s why she stands alone and the rainbow of ethnicity that is Central stands united & PROUD!! The “rainbow” hallways of our school are there for an even deeper reason now! There is riches for EVERYONE at the end of the rainbow, because we are the RAINBOW!

Appalled
Appalled
7 years ago

It makes no difference what criteria were used to select the students for the classes. The end result is racial segregation! Fix it. Apologize. And don’t do it again.

Murray mom
Murray mom
7 years ago

Yes. I agree with you. Wrong. Responsible media blurred the photos. And while I have been at central many times u are much better at judging the internal struggle than I. I just think we should focus on the big picture. The district was wrong and then tried to spin.

Deb
Deb
7 years ago

MurrayMom – if you read what everyone is blaming the mother for, it’s because she showed photos of all the other children in other classes WITH the names. Perhaps we should get a Murray Avenue yearbook and post it on new websites and then show how much more racially diverse Central is then Murray Avenue. This would include your child’s name and photo.

Grace
Grace
7 years ago

With all due respect, by your handle I would assume you have never walked into, let alone attended Central. Talk to anyone at Central and you’ll see why this woman invites such criticism.

She had ulterior motives from the beginning…still does. First, she wants Chatsworth, now she wants to transfer to Scarsdale. Look at your own yearbooks, people. Do you see a system-wide policy of discrimination? Not in the least. She is on a witch hunt, and costing us a ton of money in retaliation for her not getting her way. She is more of a child than the 5 year old.

murray mom
murray mom
7 years ago

There is no reason to blame the mother for this sh*tstorm.

Debbie Manetta (the PR person that makes six-figures) and The District spun this to their own benefit in both a letter to parents and this ridiculous thing on YouTube.

Had they been honest from the beginning, said they made a mistake and were sorry, this whole thing would have been over long ago.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

I do not blame the mother for standing up for her child in a situation that she perceived as discriminatory and exercising her rights . This was done before the yearbook pictures were taken at the start of school. I never said I condoned showing chidren’s pictures and names .I blame the District for this mess.

PictureNOTPerfect
PictureNOTPerfect
7 years ago

Xanthe … actually, you did condone the mother showing the yearbook photos when you stated, in response to comments about the photos and the publicity this mother is creating from her photo,
“…place the blame where it belongs, on the district and not the mother standing up for her child.”.
You claim she did what she had to do. Apparently to you making innocent children suffer is doing what she had to do!
Besides, blurred photos or not (other sites have them crystal clear) you would be upset. It is ILLEGAL to use the photos as she did and she exposed what children and families were effected by this.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Your right about that( The financial aspect I do not know about the other part ). But the fact that her complaint was credible now puts her in a stronger position to acheive that . Maybe we would not be in this mess if the District followed their racially neutral procedures consistently and objectively

JustCurious
JustCurious
7 years ago

Just wondering how this story would be playing out if the said few “white” parents of this class complained they were in a class with all “minority” children?
What if “affluent” families complained that their kids were “disproportionately placed” in a class with “project-economically poor” kids?
Why don’t these parents have a “civil rights” case as well?

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