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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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Enough is Enough
Enough is Enough
7 years ago

post removed

Enough is Enough
Enough is Enough
7 years ago

post removed

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago

If she want’s to go to Scarsdale, let her. I can think of no more fitting punishment. Those women will eat her and her “poor, minority, living in the project” kid alive.

But seriously, if there is an attorney willing to fight against this woman, post a link here or something. If she wants to fight dirty, the gloves are off.

Central K Mom
Central K Mom
7 years ago

I believe it would be helpful to seperate whatever feelings people have about this one person from the facts noted in the OCR report. Also, Ms. Jimenez is not the person who originally approached the administration. The mother who approached first has been very low key but firm in her position. Our school is not perfect, or awful. No school is perfect. None. Pretending that problems don’t exist hurts the school, students, and parents.

Really?
Really?
7 years ago

truthanothingbtruth – you may as well just reveal who you are since it’s pretty obvious by a few of your comments in the thread below. Those of us that have dealt directly with you have no doubt.
And I applaud Ms. Russell for “taking the fifth”. You state that this was in response to her being “asked to appear with Lou Young”. Um, no, not exactly. She was approached in a hostile manner (not by Lou Young, but you already know that)while other children and families were around at dismissal time. And when she refused to comment she was threatened that she would be subpoened….Nice. On school property with children in close proximity. Being the professional that she is,she did the right thing in not commenting at such an inappropriate time and to someone who approached her in such a hostile manner.
You and I agree on one point only – you state below, “Here we are talking about defenseless precious, innocent 5 year-olds that don’t see skin color, that don’t harbor any prejudice. They just see another 5 year-old in the playground and want to have fun.” So then why are you and Ms. Jimenez making color such an issue? What lessons do you think her innocent child that she’s plastered all over the internet and in newspapers is learning from this circus about acceptance and skin color and prejudice? If she was so bothered by the skin color of her son’s classmates, she should have taken the administration up on the offer of changing his class a year ago.

Editor
Editor
7 years ago

*******Please may we take this opportunity to remind everyone to please treat each other with respect on this board. thanks!!. ******

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

TRUTH-
COMPARING THIS TO THE HOLOCAUST??? DISGUSTING & OFFENSIVE!!! GET A GRIP!!!!
That’s a repulsive thing to do!
You failed to mention the Spanish teacher that was part of this group… Interesting “spin” on your part! In fact, you don’t have all the teachers for the year in question correct at all!
You’re for equal rights? I take TREMENDOUS offense to the “black teacher” comment YOU wrote.
YOU DON’T KNOW THE FACTS BEHIND THIS STORY!
This mom had an agenda & used race to get it.
As part of a “minority” community at Central, I feel she is 100% WRONG about Central & I KNOW her TRUE motives. WE DON’T SUPPORT HER BECAUSE SHES WRONG ABOUT THE SCHOOL WE LOVE!
She’s just greedy!
If there was discrimination, we certainly would’ve been behind her… THERE WASN’T!
You’re also missing the point of why people are upset… SHE SHOWED KIDS PHOTOS/NAMES… SHE CALLED HOMES ASKING PEOPLE THEIR RACE… SHE ASSUMED IF YOU HAD LIGHT SKIN YOU WERE A MAJORITY & IF YOU HAD DARK SKIN YOU WERE A MINORITY… (Who’s discriminating????)
SHE’S DOING ALL THIS TO GET INTO WHAT SHE CONSIDERS A BETTER SCHOOL & ULTIMATELY A BETTER SCHOOL DISTRICT… BOTH ALMOST ALL WHITE! Why not just move to those zones/districts. She was offered a choice of whatever class she wished! SHE REFUSED… Wanting a whiter school only… Now a whiter district!
Obviously Central is racially diverse if she’s running to whiter and whiter schools/districts. Why not STAY where it’s diverse & get on all the commitees Central has for minorities & build them even stronger!
JUST LET HER GO & LET’S MOVE ON ENJOYING & EMBRACING OUR DIVERSITY!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Xanthe – I read the article…
1. It’s in the “opinion” section, which means someone sent it in.
2. It DOESN’T slam anything. In fact, it reinforces there was no intentional segregation.
3. It CLEARLY states THE MOTHER approached the newspaper, not that The Journal News went to her.
4. Again, she loves posing for her 15 minutes of fame… Exposing her son’s image each time… Where will he ever not be known? We’ll have to pay for him to constantly change schools. Her son has become a pawn in her game.
5. Where are all these Central minorities that she claims are behind her? She’s always pictured alone! It’s because they know Central & see through her!

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Did you read page 14A in today Sunday Opinion page where they say “The district would do well on its own to secure independent outside help. Or Neither he(shaps) nor the school board seems equiped to judge given the short shrift they gave Jiminez’s earlier complaints and their lack of candor since the government intervened … these are a few of the “not blasting ” a statements made in the editorial today. Also, states there are a lot of questions District should be asking after being called on the carpet for producing what was an essentially racially segregated kindergarten classes “

truthanothingbtruth
truthanothingbtruth
7 years ago

Mary Mcleod Bethune said it so eloquently…”If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything….that smacks of discrimination….” I leave you, finally a responsibility to our young people.” All of you who are taking the side of the administration should be ashamed of yourselves. What happened during the holocaust? There were people that just stoodby. Here we are talking about defenseless precious, innocent 5 year-olds that don’t see skin color, that don’t harbor any prejudice. They just see another 5 year-old in the playground and want to have fun. The school administration, in particular Principal Priore made race an issue. She had the final say in the class creation process. Though the Federal probe just looked at the kindergarten year for 2011-2012, and called it a statistical significant disparity, racial segregation existed in the other grades as well. In fact if you look in the 2011-2012 yearbook you will find Ms. Plati’s class significantly white to the same degree as the segregated kindergarten class. This was not an ISOLATED incident. But I’m sure Dr. Shaps will issue his clownish statement and call it a “statistical anomaly”. It should be noted that Mrs. Russell, the kindergarten teacher for Class 1 in the report, the segregated class, had the same class for the 2010-2011 year and the Federal investigators found the same disparity of minority students. One can only wonder why she was given this class for 2 consecutive years. Mrs. Russell, a black teacher, was a 2nd grade teacher for the 2009-2010 school year. Mrs. Russell was asked to appear on the camera for Lou Young of CBS news and stated “I plead the 5th”. The district released a statement to the community Wednesday, saying, in part, “In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral. ”Norman Siegel, ‘The’ most prominent civil rights attorney today, a former director of the New York ACLU, and a former candidate for the city advocate position called the school’s statement, signed by Superintendent of Schools Robert I. Shaps and board President Nancy Pierson “disingenuous.”
“The way they applied the guidelines were not race-neutral,” Siegel said. “The OCR found that it had a disproportionate, adverse impact on students of color.”
Siegel said he was alarmed by the school’s attempts to “spin the letter to say they did nothing wrong.”
“It’s troubling that they are not being candid. The way to remedy the situation is to first admit your mistake,” he said. Furthermore, the school board and Dr. Shaps have known about the OCR federal investigation since December 2011 and had been in negotiations since at least June 2012 to tone down the language in the OCR report. The School administration/board knew of the resolution agreement in early August yet during all this time they failed to tell our community about the Federal probe until Sept. 12, 2012 when the news media descended upon the Central School. Our school board has 2 attorney’s, and as lawyers have a higher standard to uphold. They had a fiduciary responsibility as attorneys to notify this community of these serious allegations and the report outlining the resolution. They failed to do so. I wonder why?
Robin Nichinsky, then the school board president and now a member of the board of trustees, failed to attend a board meeting with the parents of the segregated class, but sent 2 other board members to deal with the most important issue EVER to face the School Board. Ms. Nichinsky is a Public Defender/attorney and previously was the chairperson of the Larchmont Mamaroneck Human Rights Commission. Presented the Martin Luther King award annually. She has openly stated she is the daughter of holocaust survivors. You would think with those impeccable credentials she would best to deal with this situation. Ms. Nichinsky distanced herself from addressing the segregation issue.
Principal Priore, was the captain of this ship and when the commander of any position of importance is derelict in their duties they are relieved of their command. Principal Priore and Dr. Shaps as well as some of the board members must go for the good of the community. As Mary Mcleod Bethune stated…..we “have a responsibility to our young people”…we need to standup, organize and protest. We need to advocate for our children. The administration has failed us as educators, administrators, and human beings! They have brought shame to our diverse community. The educational administrators of this community need to see they are the “physical anomalies’ when they look at themselves in the mirror.

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