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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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Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

“illegal to put yearbook pictures in the newspaper”

If you’re claiming it’s illegal then cite the damn law. I’m rapidly losing patience here.

The *only* vague, slight possibility that might exist is that it could be argued to be *unlawful* (not illegal) as a matter of copyright. But if you do a little research on the ‘fair use doctrine’, you’ll rapidly conclude that any such claim would be doomed to fail. So please tell us, exactly what law do you think was broken?

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

The Law is The Law – you’re referring to commercial use for advertising or trade, as the law states. That’s a VERY particular circumstance and irrelevant to this case; it’s down to the USE of the image. I can photograph your child in a public place – anywhere where there’s no expectation of privacy – and blog that image, or use it in a news story, or any similar literary or journalistic use. What I *can’t* do, as you rightly point out, is use that image to advertise something without parental consent; they can therefore veto advertising they don’t approve of, and they can demand to be paid…

Think about it: if the law were as you claim, every news crew filming anywhere in New York state would have to scrupulously ensure there were no minors in the shot, even unintentionally in the background, because the footage would be going out without parental permission – which is obviously bullshit, that’s not how it works!

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

“If your child is in special education, then you are more than aware of the strict confidentionality built into the laws involving such classifications. You have to sign-off on the people you allow to see your child’s diagnosis and IEP. NO ONE can reveal/make reference to special education classifications without written consent from that child’s parents.”

Yes, all true – but *that only applies to school district employees* (and other professionals dealing with the care of the child under laws such as HIPPA). It does NOT apply in any way to Joe Public! If I am aware that my neighbour, or anyone else, has a special needs kid, there’s no law whatever preventing me publishing that, or blogging about it. If you believe there is, cite it! Otherwise I cite the 1st amendment. And at least I have the integrity to do it under my own name…

Mike

The Law is The Law
The Law is The Law
7 years ago

Mike Ross- if you are, in fact, a photographer, please reference the law below for your own protection…

Section 50 of Chapter 6 of New York’s Consolidated Laws provides:

A person, firm or corporation that uses for advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, the name, portrait or picture of any living person without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or if a minor of his or her parent or guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Section 51 allows such a person to bring an action for damages.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Mike: There IS NOT anything shameful about being special Ed, however IT IS AGAINST THE LAW for that information to be made public.
If your child is in special education, then you are more than aware of the strict confidentionality built into the laws involving such classifications. You have to sign-off on the people you allow to see your child’s diagnosis and IEP. NO ONE can reveal/make reference to special education classifications without written consent from that child’s parents.
If you are not aware of the laws, I suggest you speak with a SEPTA representative so you know your own child’s rights & make sure they are protected.

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

LindaP:

“outed special ed kids”

?????

You make it sound like there is, or should be, something shameful about having, or being, a special ed kid – that it’s a secret, something that people should be expected to conceal.

I have a special ed kid. Sandy Donald Ross, late of Murray Avenue, just left to start at his new school on the other side of the world – we’re moving! I couldn’t be more proud of him.

My feelings towards YOU at this point are unprintable. ‘outed’ my arse!

Mike

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

I’m afraid I’m going to have to use the ‘b’ word again.

“you releasing the document about which race of children were held back, placed in classes, your showing photos of children without permission… 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.”

Excuse me, I call bullshit here.

You’re asserting a bunch of ‘rights’ that don’t exist. What privacy rights are you talking about exactly? I’m a photographer/cinematographer, and I can assure you there are no ‘rights’ of privacy involved here. If I can see it, I can photograph it. I don’t need anyones permission. That’s the law. Educational professionals may be restricted, by law, professional standards, or district policy, regarding what information they can release about students, but there is no such restriction on private citizens. Provided it’s truthful and not defamatory they can publish what they like. ‘So-and-so has an autistic child in special needs’ is not a state secret!

So many people these days go around aggressively insisting they have ‘rights’ – rights to privacy, rights not to be photographed, rights not to have things said or published about them – it’s all bullshit, all has no basis in law, and just makes them look ignorant, aggressive, and nasty.

Mike

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
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.”

I’ve heard a lot of this in the fire service (and please note I’m speaking for myself, and NOT about, or in any connection with, MY fire department here).

The FDNY, the New Haven 20… in all cases the cry has been ‘it doesn’t matter how fair, even-handed, inclusive, or racially-neutral the selection process was, if the end result happens to be racially unbalanced, it’s racist and unfair and discriminatory’.

I’m a Scotsman. I call a spade a spade. I call that thinking *bullshit*.

Some people here are speaking and acting like the first and most important criterion in class selection should be that the end result is racially balanced. I call that bullshit too. The entire process – at school, or anywhere else – should be colourblind.

(And I don’t get this whole American thing of regarding ‘Hispanic’ as a race; to a European they’re all European, whether they’re blonde Scandinavians or dark-skinned Mediterranean types.)

Mike

InTheKnow
InTheKnow
7 years ago

The facts will come out (some are starting to here).

Mr. Luis Quiros, is behind Ms. Jimenz, he is the militant leader of Padres Unidos. The group that pulled out of Hommocks this year refusing to be a parent/teacher organization stating that they must maintain independence from the school to properly represent the entire Latino community, not just parents (even though they are a Parent committee at the school to help provide support on both sides, parent and school).

This event is a smoke screen to their real agenda, unfortunately they are not sure of what their agenda is other than to be a thorn in the side of the district.

They have vowed a vendetta against the school system for mostly petty issues (and a few legitimate ones). They are using this situation to gain leverage to negotiate their agenda.

They feel they do not get their due in the system and want more, not through constructive dialog but through threats and now intimidation.

You are all falling into a trap of a fiction that was created around a mistake. A mistake that was meant to be in the best interest of the children, not for some intention to discriminate.

The real issue to be debated is what should the school system do to pick Kindergarten classes?

Should it do it by blind lottery?

What if it turns out to be biased, then do they re-sort it out to make sure it is gender, age and racially balanced?

Should the school district take into account special needs, such as ESL, Learning Disabilities and physical handicaps?

Should the school district be able to put friends together at parents request to help ease the separation and anxiety for a child?

Who has even determined that race in some way balances a class? Is there any data to show that students will learn better in a racially diverse class?

Shouldn’t the school be color blind? How can they be color blind when they are asked to consider race?

These are the real issues, will everyone be 100% happy? No. 60+ comments on this site and not one has made a suggestion as to how this problem is solved.

Well, Mr. Quiros got what he was looking for a scandal that he created to divide the public and you have all fallen into the trap.

white dude
white dude
7 years ago

why does everyone think that providing a newspaper with pictures of a yearbook is illegal… Did you guys go to crappy kindergartens or something??

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